Local News

Woman Shares Heritage Through Art, Wins Award

Posted October 25, 2007 7:07 p.m. EDT

A Warren County woman received the North Carolina Heritage Award from the state Arts Council Thursday.

Senora Lynch's pottery has received national recognition. She said that's great because her work tells the story of her people, the Haliwa-Saponi tribe.

“I always tell people clay is magical, because once you see it, you want to just get in there and play with it,” Lynch said.

She knows her craft. Lynch's pottery wins award after award, and she's not bashful about it.

“You wouldn’t have found pottery this elaborate in the old days,” she said.

With each honor Lynch gets, it means more recognition for her people.

“There’s never been any books or historical books written about our tribe, so that’s a great beginning,” she said.

The Haliwa-Saponi formed in 1953. They received state recognition in 1965. About 3,800 members live in four North Carolina counties, and many have an artistic side.

“You name it, we got it when it comes to traditional arts and crafts,” Lynch said.

Tradition means a lot to Lynch and it shows in her work. She brings tribal beliefs and stories into her pottery.

“Through my work, I can speak through the clay,” she said.

Lynch's artistic foundation began in her teenage years as she learned from her mother and other people in the tribe. Early on, she learned the importance of tradition.

“People had to make pottery to survive,” she said. “They had to make bows and arrows for survival.”

Some of Lynch's work is on display at the Smithsonian. She was one of six people receiving the Heritage Award on Thursday.