Jason Wesaw

Jason Wesaw

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi

Jason was born an artist. When he was a teenager, he created a drum from a foraged log and he has never looked back. Now, he creates drums, functional and decorative pottery, textiles, paintings, and mixed media pieces. At the core of all of Jason’s work is his deep connection to his Potawatomi culture.

About Jason Wesaw

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi

Jason Wesaw, a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi in southwestern Michigan, is a man of many talents: a ceramicist, photographer, painter, textile artist, drum maker, and musician.

Calling himself a lifelong “maker,” Jason started his artistic life when he was 14, making a drum from a hollow log he found in the woods. When he became more skilled in making drums, he grew curious about other types of making, especially pottery. He began by making pieces based on examples of pottery from the past, decorating the pieces he created with simple, traditional Potawatomi designs.

As his skills grew, he moved from making pottery based on those typically used in everyday life— primarily pots and urns for storing food and bowls for serving it— to artistic ceramics meant only for display in museums, galleries, and homes. Recognizing that galleries and collectors often wanted two-dimensional works that could hang on walls rather than three-dimensional works that took up space on desks, tables, or shelves, Jason also started creating textiles and paintings.

Everything he makes is related to his culture and the Northeastern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan region where the Potawatomi have lived for centuries. His work reflects the natural world and his relationship to it.

Jason Wesaw (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, born 1974) Gishkey Gises (Cedar Moon), 2019 oil pastel and imitation silver leaf on incised archival paper 23 7/8 × 17 3/4 in. Gift of the artist 2019.17.1

Jason Wesaw (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, born 1974), Gishkey Gises (Cedar Moon), Drawing, 2019, oil pastel and imitation silver leaf on incised archival paper, 23 7/8 × 17 3/4 in. (60.6 × 45.1 cm)

Words you need to know


Someone skilled in using wood to create useful and/or beautiful objects.


Objects made from clay and hardened by heat.


An object that is flat – it can be measured in length and width, but has no depth. A painting of an apple, a photograph of a can, or a drawing on a piece of paper are two-dimensional.


An object that has length, width and depth, and can be viewed all the way around, like an apple or a can, is three-dimensional.


Works of art created by sewing, painting, or printing designs on cloth.


Family members, related to you who lived long ago.