Senora Lynch (NC)
When I was asked by to participate in an upcoming pottery exhibit he was going to be part of, I said, Yes, of course. That sounds interesting. As an artist and a potter, it is always exciting when someone wants to exhibit your work in a gallery. It is exciting to know that your work will be seen and that you are able to have your work sit alongside that of other extraordinary potters. But when I heard that I had to write a 750-word essay to accompany my piece of art, I thought, I’m a potter, not a writer! I express myself through design, not writing. At the same time in the back of my head, I was saying, When is this due? When do I have to have it ready?...thinking I have plenty of time. Sure, I will do it! Somehow the spirits help you BELIEVE. They helped me along the way. Boy has time flown by. After I said Yes, this piece continued to stay in my mind.
As I began preparing for this piece to be made, I dove deeper into the purpose of this exhibit and started to explore the meaning behind its title, “The Last Drop: Intoxicating Pottery Past and Present”. This title brought forth a mixture of thoughts and emotions that helped to fuel my design process. My mind began to fill up like a tall glass of wine. I thought of alcohol - its consumption, it history, its purpose, as well as its effects in the past and present. All of these thoughts helped to bring forth my creation of this piece entitled, “From the Earth, We Drink”. Here are just a few of the drops that filled my mind.
The Last Drop
Hey Man!...What’s in the cup? Aren’t you sharing?...Pass it around. What’s in there so good? Hey!...Pass it around. Don’t wait ‘til the last drop!
The last drop of what? The last drop of water, the last drop of land, the last drop of clay, the last story, last tradition, the last drop of medicine.
Hey! Don’t be greedy! Pass the cup!
The last drop of a sacred song, the last drop of a sacred birth, the last drop of tobacco, the last drop of cotton, the last dance, the last time with grandpa, the last laugh, the last of grandma’s biscuit.
Hey! Don’t be greedy! Pass the cup!
The last of the firewater, the last of the white lightning, the last drop of communion, the last drop of breath, the last teardrop.
Hey!...Pass the cup!
As long as I pass the last drop…
"As you take the backwash of the last drop, all things will continue. The thirst will be quenched. All things are passed to the next generation." The Last of the Mohegans
Well then… Don’t wait until the last drop! Don’t drink the last drop! Go ahead!... Pass the cup!
That Don’t Mix
American Indians, White Lightening, Wahoo… That don’t mix!... A lot of laughter though…
Intoxicated to the clay, to the smell of the earth, to the idea of creation.
Can’t stop. Can’t let go. Addicted.
Getting close to the last drop.
Gotta go back to get more.
You want to quit, but you can’t.
The Bottle Was Always With Them
This is the life of one person’s story I know….
Every man her mother married was an alcoholic.
Her grandfather drank for 66 years. He must have started when he was 10.
She was a great Mom. She fed them and fed them well.
Their whole house was full of laughter – clowns, fools, and those that cut a fool.
Actors, charades, mockery…. beach trips. The bottle was always with them.
Going to church, the bottle was always with them.
This was their way of life. Everybody drank.
Now, some people just have a glass of wine...EVERY NIGHT. Isn’t this the way to health?
Next, I had to make my piece of pottery for the exhibit. The piece of ceramic that I chose to use as an example for this project was the mug from Staffordshire, England, dated 1742. I selected this mug because it has a two-color contrast and is hand-etched. My personal style of pottery also has a two-color contrast and is hand-etched. I felt most comfortable with this piece serving as my inspiration for this project.
On this piece of pottery, “From the Earth, We Drink”, you will find that it is designed with many of the fruits from mother earth that our wines are made from, those that quench our thirst and bring us health. Among those, you will see the locust tree, black cherries, strawberries, corn, blackberries, and grapes. It also has a crisscross pattern, which represents that life is plentiful and good. Similarly, to the designs on my other pottery, these were inspired by the history of my Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, the stories from my family, and the environment around me.
Senora Lynch is nationally known for her creation of exquisite American Indian handmade pottery. She creates each piece using a traditional hand-coiling method out of red and white clay while adding a contemporary twist with her own style of etching designs into the surface.
“The spirit of clay has always inspired me,” says Senora. “Working in clay takes me back to my childhood days of playing in the mud, a free spirit.” Senora calls her work “Living Traditions” as the designs on her pottery are full of living traditional stories and beliefs of her people. The designs come through the Night Sky and are revealed to her in her dreams. Before transferring these ideas onto the pottery, Senora paints the red clay with the white clay. Once it dries, the designs are etched into the surface using a fine tool. She uses many American Indian symbols and motifs found in the natural environment, which work in unison to convey the story being told on that particular piece of pottery. Senora’s pottery has evolved to include different shapes, including bowls, turtles, lizards, maidens, smudge bowls, wedding vases, bears, and plaques, among others. “I look forward to how the clay will inspire me next.”
From the Earth, We Drink
Senora Lynch, 2017. Warrenton, NC. H. 5¼"
This is the piece Senora created for THE LAST DROP: INTOXICATING POTTERY, PAST AND PRESENT.
Staffordshire, England, dated 1742.Salt-glazed stoneware with scratch brown decoration. Chipstone Foundation. 2017.6. H. Approx. 6”
This is the historical piece from which Senora chose to draw inspiration.