New era, an­cient tech­niques

Pot­ters the Lewis sis­ters of Acoma


Dur­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s ten­ure, a book­shelf in the Oval Of­fice dis­played a ce­ramic work by Acoma Pue­blo artist Lucy M. Lewis — an olla, or wide-necked jar, whose white sur­face is criss­crossed in a geo­met­ric storm of black Chaco light­ning bolts. Crafted circa 1969, it’s a stun­ning piece, an archetype of 20th-cen­tury Pue­blo pot­tery whose im­age was fea­tured by the U.S. Postal Ser­vice on a com­mem­o­ra­tive stamp in 2004. Lewis’ daugh­ters, who are ac­com­plished pot­ters in their own right, tuned into White House press con­fer­ences in the hopes of catch­ing a glimpse of their late mother’s el­e­gant work.

“When Obama was in of­fice, we would watch the news all the time to see our mom’s pot­tery on the self. I was proud of my mom. It was like she was watch­ing out for him, al­ways look­ing over his shoul­der,” said Dolores Lewis Gar­cia of her mother, who died in 1992.

Dolores and her sis­ters Carmel Lewis Haskaya and Emma Lewis Mitchell have spent decades craft­ing tra­di­tional Acoma pot­tery in an earth-to-pot process

con­tin­ued on Page 58

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