Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Marcus Wall: Chained to the Future/Unchained from the Past

It could be argued that Jemez Pueblo potter Marcus Wall comes from one of the most talented families working in Native American arts today.  The son of Fannie Loretto (Jemez/Laguna) and Stephen Wall (Chippewa/Seneca), the stepson of Laura Fragua-Cota, and the brother of Kathleen Wall and Adrian Wall, creating pottery comes as no surprise to him. After all, he learned pottery from his mother, and his sister taught him most of what he knows about style and technique. With all these mentors helping to shape a young potter, it's no wonder that Marcus wants to find his own niche and make a name for himself apart from a family full of already super-successful artists.While Marcus, who has been making pottery since his single digit years, started with smaller pieces such as figurines and koshares, he is taking his work to a whole new level that commercially is beginning to serve him very well. 

Enter the micaceous wedding vase.  Traditionally a symbol of engagement and formal marriage, Wall has turned that symbol into what his sister Kathleen refers to as a "mutual understanding vase."  This vase can function as a symbol of commitment for anyone in any kind of connected relationship, whether it be legal marriage or otherwise.  

His work is as delicate and beautiful as pottery found in the Taos tradition.  The artist says that he finds the clay and the work very masculine, but clearly he brings a warmth and thoughtfulness that makes the pieces appealing to all collectors.  Marcus, who learned how to work with micaceous clay from Kathleen, has added hand-crafted clay chain links to the vases, which give them a unique look that ineveitably sparks conversation about their meaning.

At the 2010 Native Treasures show in Santa Fe, Marcus took the time to chat about his work that is gaining him status as one of the up-and-coming new artists on the Native American pottery scene.  Check out my interview with him HERE:

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