Native American Hand Coiled and Hand etched Pottery - Senora and Dalton Lynch

123 East Haliwa Drive

Warrenton, NC 27589

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The spirit of clay has always inspired me”, says Senora Lynch, an artist from the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, who calls her pottery Living Traditions. “Working in clay takes me back to my childhood days of playing in mud, a free spirit.”

Senora Lynch became interested in making pottery at age fourteen, when she assisted her tribe’s elders with pottery class. Fifteen years later, Senora met a tribal potter who agreed to teach her the craft of hand coiling. This renewed her interest, creating her own style of hand carved pottery, which trademarks her. She has been a potter ever since.

Senora creates her pottery at home. She uses the hand- coiling method, an exacting process. First, she pounds red clay and rolls it into long ropes. Next, she coils the ropes and stacks them to form the desired vessel’s shape, pressing them together. She then smoothes the clay with her fingers and scrapes it with a scoring tool to make the coils stick together. She continues to smooth and stretch the coils with her fingers, finally polishing the vessel with a rock to make it smoother and shinier. To make the designs, Senora places white clay on top of the red clay and etches patterns in it with a fine tool. Then the vessel is fired. Old beliefs and stories from the Haliwa-Saponi inspire Senora’s unique designs, as does the natural environment. She uses the dogwood flower because it is a sign of spring, its appearance signaling that the time to plant the corn has arrived. Tobacco, the spirit of life, and corn, the staff of life, are sacred plants to the Haliwa-Saponi and appear in her designs. She says that her designs are descriptions of tradition and come to her in dreams. The red clay symbolizes the strength and blood of our people and the future generations.

This process results in exquisite pottery that has exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of History, 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta Smithsonian’s Southern Cross Roads Exhibit, National Museum of the American Indian, National Women Museum of the Arts, Historic James Town, and in the Piscataway Museum . In October 2007, she will be receiving the NC Folk Heritage Award for her work in promoting and preserving the culture of the Haliwa-Saponi people. Her strong designs have also made it onto the walkway of the University of NC at Chapel Hill’s campus at the Frank Porter Student Union. She has also been a subject of a book, “The Contemporary Southeastern Pottery of Haliwa-Saponi Artist Senora Lynch”, by Christopher Everette.

© Village of Yesteryear 2018