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YES students energized by ‘living art’ lesson

Fourth graders at Youngsville Elementary School were captivated by history, culture and the craft of pottery during a February 28th “living art” lesson taught by a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe.

Senora Lynch, of Warren County, educated students about traditional clay sculpting and North Carolina/American Indian culture, history and science during three sessions in Ms. Linda Griffin’s art class.

“The spirit of clay has always inspired me,” she said. “Working in clay takes me back to my childhood days of playing in mud: a free spirit.”

Lynch said her art is a combination of cultural traditions, dreams and the living world. She engaged the students in a question-and-answer dialogue as she demonstrated her clay sculpting techniques. She explained the process of pit-fired pottery, the meaning of a long house and how a pinch pot or seed pot and other clay pots were used as a foundation for cooking and daily life for the Haliwa-Saponi people.

She explained how the tribe included the scientists of their time who developed natural medicines, tool making and other creative discoveries through experimentation.

Lynch is nationally known for her creation of American Indian handmade pottery. She uses red and white clay to create pieces using a traditional hand-coiling method. She then adds a contemporary twist using her own style of etching designs. She has pieces in permanent collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum, as well as the American Indian Museum and the N.C. Museum of History.

Lynch was the recipient of the N.C. Folk Heritage Award in 2007. She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the River People Music and Culture Fest in 2013 for her work in promoting and preserving the culture of the Haliwa-Saponi people. Her designs are also part of the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

students raise their hands

Haliwa-Saponi artwork

A woman holding a clay pot

A woman stands in front of an elementary school art class talking