Marilyn Ray is an award-winning favorite of collectors and judges alike, for her beautifully made pieces featuring winsome animals and children.
With this seed pot, she demonstrates her skill in traditional pottery, as well.
Seed pots were meant to harbor seeds over the winter, saving them for the next planting season.
The very small hole that was a feature, was meant to keep out vermin and other seed-eaters.
This beautiful seed pot is a modern version, that pays tribute to tradition in the decoration and the very, very small opening.
With no children and no animals, but with a perfectly formed shape, traditional patterns, and unusual, natural colors, the pot is fabulous.
The composition is complex, with each wonderful, separate part contributing to the splendid whole.
The top is covered in a starburst pattern, where tiny repeated flicks of the brush resemble a traditional fine-line design but suggest a shower of raindrops.
A sawtoothed border separates it from the bottom two-thirds of the pot.
Outlined in a natural, russet clay slip, the triangular shapes are painted black. The pristine white clay base, typical of Acoma, shows within that as a fine borderline, and two inverted triangles.
Another thin band of the white clay base circles the pot, separating the designs on top, from the bottom part.
Here, the artist has repeated the sawtooth pattern, but upside down, with black fine lines in a graduated pattern within each triangle.
These are the traditional, Acoma fine-line patterns, representing rainfall (a precious blessing in the dray high desert).
Again, hair-thin borders of black and white edge the v-shapes, followed by broader bands of soft orange, that connect with the russet borders above, to form a series of diamond shapes.
Around the waist of the pot, and continuing down to the bottom edge, the artist has continued to play with various configurations of triangles, squares, and diamond shapes, some solid colored, others filled with black and white fine-lines.
Aside from the black, the other natural colors are surprising: that warm orange, and pale gold, as well as the traditional russet.
The white is the natural hue of the base clay, hand-gathered in the Acoma area; black derives from steeping wild spinach leaves, like tea; russet is natural, hand powdered red clay, mixed with water, and the pale gold and orange are also natural clay slips.
The entire seed pot is covered in a carefully composed design of totally integrated, artistically organized, repeated geometric shapes.
The design is beautiful in its dramatic use of black and white, softened by the delicate warmth of the gold, melon, and brick red elements.
Fine-lines and other design elements all speak to the function of a seed pot: the rain symbols are hopes for enough water to nourish the seeds; the brick red is the color of the earth in which they are planted, and the warmth of the pale gold and orange represent the sun, which is needed, along with sufficient rain, for the seeds to flourish into plants and crops.
Marilyn has integrated geometric shapes into tightly controlled, complex patterns, that perfectly accord and emphasize the globular form of the pot.
The tender glow of warm hues is an unexpected but gorgeous addition to the eternal black and white designs of tradition.
This is one of this celebrated artist’s most elegant works, with its awesome overall design.