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
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