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Samuel Manymules

samuel manymules

Samuel Manymules taught himself how to make pottery by looking at the pottery of Joseph Lonewolf and Christine McHorse in books! He creates minimalist pottery which has an amazing sense of form. Samuel Manymules was born in 1963, of the Bitterwater Clan for the Red House Clan. With unemployment very high in the Navajo Nation, Samuel took advantage of many trades before becoming a full-time jeweler. He dabbed in pottery-making for over a decade before considering himself a serious potter. He is self-taught. Samuel’s posts are traditionally made, but modernized in style. His shapes are varied: large bean pots, melon pots, and dough bowls, all polished smooth and covered with piñon pitch and reddish-brown made of iron oxide. This is Samuel’s statement about his work: “The vessels I make are of traditional natural materials. First, I gather moist pure clay from local riverbed sources, which is then dried three to four months in the sun. When dried, the resulting clumps are crushed, ground, and sifted into a fine powder. Temper is also gathered and processed: volcanic ash or pottery shard may be used. After hand mixing, the clay is set aside for curing. It is then later mixed several more times. Finally, after months of preparation, the clay mixture is ready for use. There are several ways to build a vessel, all employing traditional techniques. Sometimes I use a puki for the base, oftentimes not. Most times I start with a slab of clay, coiling and the scraping the basic form, sometimes carving, often molding and compacting freeform. Usually, I have an idea of a shape and size, but other thoughts or events may intervene affecting the final form. I use a variety of traditional tools but never a pottery wheel or any other mechanical process. Appliqué, incised design, and slips are added after the initial building. Repeated polishing is done while the vessel dries. Complete drying takes at least three days and up to three weeks, depending on size. Then it is ready for firing. Firing is an all-day process. Cedarwood is used because it burns efficiently at high temperatures. Fire clouds happen by chance. When finished, debris such as ash is carefully removed from the extremely hot vessel. Refined piñon tree sap is then swabbed inside and out with a stick while the vessel cools. The sap has also been gathered, cleansed, and processed by hand. After the vessel cools, before display, the pottery is polished with a cotton cloth to high shine.” Although generally a secluded artist, Samuel has since 2002 begun to attend fairs and competitions where he sells his work. In 2013 at The Heard Museum Indian Fair & Market in Phoenix, Arizona, Samuel won First Place – Pottery – Division B – Traditional – native clay, hand built, unpainted, including ribbon on his Plain Water Jar. Samuel has won numerous awards including a Judges' Choice Award at the 2008 Heard Museum, Best of Pottery at the 2006 Southwest Museum Indian Marketplace and 2010 Best of Division at Santa Fe Indian Market. His distinctive pottery is a visual treat with such graceful forms.

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Manymules, Samuel  – Water Jar with Wide Facets

This water jar by Samuel Manymules is striking shape for his pottery.  It is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The shape is inspired by the classic water jar with the elongated neck and the slightly turned out rim.  On the shoulder, the jar just dips down a bit before the sharp edge which starts the swirls.  There are four large swirls which circle around the jar from the shoulder to the base.  They are basically flat and each is separated by a sharp ridge.  Each rib is pushed out from the inside to create the sharp “edge”.  This turns out to be a striking form as the neck and sides reflect the intense coloration form the traditional firing.   From dark black to brown and red, the colors spiral across the surface of this jar.  After the firing, the jar is covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 2,100.00
Manymules, Samuel   Large Wide Swirl Jar

This is a very wide jar by Samuel Manymules.  It is coil built and slipped with red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar has a stone polished neck and the ribs extend from the shoulder swirling down to the base.  Each rib is pushed out by hand and they come to a sharp point.  There are 10 ribs which extend across the surface of the jar.  However, it is not the size or the ribs which make this jar so remarkable, but the coloration.  Did you know Samuel fires his pottery on its side?!?!  This helps create more dynamic colorations. This jar goes from a deep reddish-purple to dark black and brown.  Interestingly, the brown areas are the more intensely fired sections of his pottery.  After the piece is fired, the jar is covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  The piece is signed on the bottom.   It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 2,800.00
Manymules, Samuel  – Low Shoulder Jar with Sharp Ribs

This is a classic water jar by Samuel Manymules.  It is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar neck which is fully polished.  The lower section has melon ribs which are pushed out into the clay.  The ribs are wide and sharp, narrowing down from the shoulder to the base.  There is an indented ridge where the neck ends and the melon ribs begin.  The entire jar is fully polished and traditionally fired to create the coloration.  It is how Samuel places the jar in the firing and the smoke which determine how the colors will range from black to red.  The color changes as the jar is turned.  After the firing the jar is the covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 950.00
Manymules, Samuel  – Jar with Rounded Swirl Melon Ribs

This  jar by Samuel Manymules has a tall shape with a slight neck.  The melon ribs swirl down from the neck to the base.  The ribs are pushed out in the clay and there is a deep groove separating each rib.  The jar is traditionally fired and the coloration is striking!   The symmetry of each rib adds to the overall appearance of the jar.  The variation from black to red to brown give the piece a sense of motion on the surface.  The browner areas are where it was fired to a higher temperature.  After the firing the jar is the covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 1,800.00
Manymules, Samuel  – Large Jar with Vertical Melon Ribs

This large jar by Samuel Manymules has a round shape which is accentuated by the vertical melon ribs.  The jar itself is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar has a stone polished neck which comes to a sharp edge. Below the shoulder the melon ribs are pushed out in the clay and extend to the base of the jar.  The symmetry of each rib adds to the overall appearance of the jar.  It was traditionally fired outdoors and that has created the coloration on the surface.  The jar has areas which range from black to red and brown.  The browner areas are where it was fired to a higher temperature.  After the firing the jar is the covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 2,800.00
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King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.

_____________________________________________

August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo

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“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez

 

FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
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