I grew up on our Caddo Allotted land near Colony, Oklahoma. Although I held in my hand many pottery artifacts found on our soil on or near the banks of Cobb Creek, it wasn't until 1991 that I first truly recognized the beauty of ancient Caddo pots. When I visited with the Caddo Culture Club the Red River Museum in Idabel, Oklahoma, I was astounded by the museum's vast array of Caddo vessels. Right there I vowed I would learn to make them.
Studying pictures of 500-1500 year-old Caddo vessels, I experienced an exciting, yet peaceful, unfolding of my past. After painstakingly sketching the ancient, complex Caddo designs, I tackled the difficult task of adapting them to specific pots. Mastering pottery engraving with bone awls was an accomplishment that was indescribable.
My most difficult task was burnishing the pots. In time, I was able to master the art of painting a pot with red clay slip and, at exactly the right dryness, rubbing the surface with a polishing stone until it is smooth and glossy. When fired, the pots take on an incredible shine.
Traditional outdoors firing with wood was the final step for me to master. Learning about different woods and firing conditions, the intensity and length of the fires, became another arduous endeavor. With husband Charles, who I call my wood specialist and firing assistant, I found that smothering the flames with horse manure at the right moment in firing turns the vessels black. Many other techniques I had to master to create a final color or hue and properly strengthened pot.
Creating Caddo pots has become a journey with my ancestors. I use the tools, materials and firing methods as close to what I believe the old Caddos would have used 500 years ago. And I feel that the earthenware created truly comes from e-nah-wah-dut, the Mother Earth.
And a great honor recently! My pot entitled "Intertwining Scrolls", shown below, was placed in the White House.
In January 2008 I was honored to be included in a presentation of a National Medal, the nation's highest honor for extraordinary public service, from Laura Bush to the Newberry Library of Chicago. My Caddo pottery and lectures on the subject at the Newberry Libray had been highly lauded and recognized and to be part of the presentation was truly rewarding. The photograph includes Laura Bush, Jeri Redcorn, David Spadafora, President Newberry Library, and Anne Ridicci, Director IMLS.
Photographs of a few of the pots I created are presented here. If you have an interest in collecting any of my work, the meaning of the various patterns, or any special technique I employ, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org