Art Collection 05

Nathan Hart – Pecan Vase See Nathan Hart’s biographic information on page 176. This piece was purchased for the Oklahoma Judicial Center Collection.

Lisa Rutherford, Cherokee artist Lisa Rutherford lives on a ranch near Tahlequah, Oklahoma where she has been making traditional pottery since 2005. Rutherford digs her own clay, uses the traditional coil method to build the pot, and then fires it in a wood fire under a full moon. Her pottery has garnered recognition both in Oklahoma and nationally. Rutherford is also a skilled artisan of traditional Cherokee beadwork. Her piece in the Oklahoma Judicial Center collection was donated by Justice Yvonne Kauger.

Mike Daniel – Four Directions, Artist Mike Daniel is an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation and also has Muscogee and Cherokee ancestry. He honors his heritage by incorporating motifs from all three tribes into his work. Daniel fires his work at 2300 degrees, making it rock hard; it is appropriately named stoneware. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah and his work has garnered high praise for a number of years. Four Directions was purchased for the Oklahoma Judicial Center Collection.

Victoria McKinney, Thousands of years ago, a complex society inhabited what is now eastern Oklahoma. All knowledge of this culture comes from the impressive mounds they left behind, with the most recognized site being the Spiro Mounds in Le Flore County. Most Spiro excavation occurred during the 1930s and yielded thousands of artifacts, dubbed the “King Tut of the Arkansas Valley.” Haphazard excavations destroyed a third of the mound, prompting the University of Oklahoma to take over excavation work. Today, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma holds one of the largest collections of Mound Builder pottery in the United States, and the Spiro excavation area is now a protected Oklahoma Historical Society site. Artist Victoria McKinney first encountered motifs from the Mound Builder culture during an anthropology course. An enrolled member of the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, McKinney’s work has taken top honors in numerous shows. McKinney’s piece in the Oklahoma Judicial Center collection was donated by Justice Yvonne Kauger.

Scott Roberts – Hooded Owl Effigy Jar, This piece represents containers members of the Mound Builder culture would have created to store seeds between fall harvest and spring planting. “The owl represented something that would take care of the rodents,” said artist Scott Roberts. Some tribes see owls as a bad omen, but Roberts said that is a distortion on the original symbolism of the owl. “It was a protector, offering warnings of danger.” Encountering an owl is a call for vigilance, not a certain harbinger of doom. Within Roberts’ tribe, the Muscogee (Creek), the owl represents wisdom and knowledge, making it an extremely appropriate piece for the Oklahoma Judicial Center.

Roberts has been interested in Native American culture and pottery all his life. He hand digs and processes his own clay from two beds in Wetumka, Oklahoma, which he prefers over commercial clay. He uses traditional primitive methods, including a technique he developed called wedge coiling, which leaves no visible signs of coiling in the finished piece.

Roberts also has Choctaw heritage, but tribal traditions and culture were not acknowledged during his youth. “My grandmother was sent to a boarding school where she was abused,” he said. “She impressed upon us that we should never learn the language or tell anyone that we were Indian.” Roberts curiosity prompted him to do research and study on his own. As an adult, he joined the Oklahoma Anthropology Association and the Central States Archaeological Society in the early 1970s.

Since retiring as an auto body technician, pottery has become Roberts’ primary focus and he is enjoying great success, with his pieces included in many permanent collections, including the White House Collection. Roberts signs each of his pieces with his hallmark, a hand and eye representing the Great Protector. The Hooded Owl Effigy Jar was purchased for the Oklahoma Judicial Center Collection.

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