Blackmore’s pottery on display
Ryan Summerlin March 16, 2012
One of the most ancient of all art forms, pottery has captured the imagination for centuries. When archeologists dig through layers of dirt to reveal ancient civilizations, perhaps the most common items found among ruins are pottery pieces.
“Pottery is intended to last many lifetimes,” said artist Marvin Blackmore.
This knowledge allows Blackmore to spend hundreds of hours sculpting a single piece of pottery. He carefully etches meticulous designs on every visible surface.
“The process requires a good eye, a steady hand and unwavering patience,” Blackmore said, “but in the end, a completely handmade, one-of-a-kind work of art will endure as a thing of beauty for generations to come.”
Blackmore visits Masters Gallery in Vail today from 1 to 6 p.m. He will demonstrate his technique at the gallery from 2 to 4 p.m.
All great art evolves over time and is influenced by conditions both deliberate and accidental, and through original thought and
Blackmore’s pottery is no exception. Blackmore is no longer just a surname but now defines a unique style of American pottery.
Blackmore was born in Farmington, N.M. His favorite childhood pastime was art, and it soon became clear that young Marvin was bestowed with tremendous artistic talent.
He grew up in Cortez, surrounded by pottery-makers from several Native American tribes. Blackmore drew from each of the tribal styles as he began making pottery. He initially was drawn to the pueblo-style carved pottery, with gloss and matte black finishes, known in the Southwest as “black-on-black” pottery.
Initially successful with the traditional black-on-black style, Blackmore’s pursuit of his own style slowly began to evolve. He developed a two-tone technique: adding a layer of a colored clay slip and then carving exceptionally detailed designs through the slip to the base color of the pot.
This etched, two-tone technique, combined with Blackmore’s eye for design, signaled a new era in Native American pottery.
As Blackmore’s techniques evolved, he added more layers of color, and the designs have become more intricate. The two-tone carvings are now multi-layered, intricate hand etchings done with a needle.
The constantly evolving designs, while primarily influenced by Southwestern Native Americans, now incorporate influences from Plains Indians and even the ancient East and Middle East.