She is part of one of the premier families in pottery: her sisters are the well known Judy Lewis, Carolyn Concho, Diane Lewis, and Rebecca Lucario.
Marilyn’s fame is primarily for this sort of endearing figural piece, incorporating children and animals.
Entirely traditional in execution, from hand-gathering the local clay, to painting with natural pigments and clay slips, her work is enjoyed for its whimsical charm, but, often, also harbors spiritual meaning.
Here, two children, two kittens, two ladybugs, a butterfly, and a lizard are all clambering onto a large and smiling turtle.
Turtles live near and on water, so are a powerful symbol of good luck for Pueblo dry-farmers, who depend on rain for irrigation.
Butterflies help to propagate plants and crops, ladybugs, eat other insect pests, and so do lizards.
These, along with the traditional fine-line decoration of parallel lines (that refer to rainfall), seen under the painted shell, are all good-luck signs.
The children are beautifully formed, in charmingly natural poses, as is expected of this noted potter’s work,
They are dressed in traditional Pueblo attire, moccasins, headband, and all, with expert attention to detail – even painting on the fingernails.
The same naturalistic detail is seen in the Monarch butterfly, the cute ladybugs, and the sinuous lizard.
Adding a whimsical touch to the traditional, Marilyn added two adorable white kittens, whose muddy paw-prints are seen on the turtles legs, as they climbed aboard the shell.
This is an additional, delightful detail, one that supports this artist’s wide appeal.
The white clay is natural to the Acoma Pueblo area, and the beige and reddish colors are natural clay slips. Wild spinach leaves, steeped in hot water, made the black paint.
With practiced skill and a lovely familiarity with both wild and domestic creatures, and children, this artist once again charms and delights her many collectors, while including a lot of cultural lore, as well.