Lynn the Potter
Giving Life to Clay

November 1st, 2007
by Thomas Tomczyk


Lynn Dee, her Carmen Miranda and kiln.

Lynn Dee, her Carmen Miranda and kiln.

Independent, entrepreneurial, creative, high energy… Lynn Dee has again reinvented her life to make others smile. Her canvases are clay squares, figurines and vases which she molds and then gives life in a womb-like kiln. One of the oldest professions in the world, pottery making, has a follower on Roatan.

“I am coming here … now what I am going to do? Then it occurred to me that no one is doing pottery on the island,” said Lynn, who retired at 49 and moved to Roatan in 2005. Before her move Lynn spent two years studying pottery-making at a pottery studio funded by the Delaware Center for the Arts.

Born in New Jersey, Lynn studied Fine Arts in college and, after a year working as a reporter, she found her calling in marketing and advertising sales. She worked for six North East newspapers beginning her career in 1970s, when women were just beginning to break into the marketing and advertising field.

While her career gave her a standard of living she wanted, Lynn needed to find a way to build her nest egg. She bought, renovated and sold homes, working weekends and evenings doing carpentry work, tiling and painting. The around 20 homes that she renovated and sold became Lynn’s canvases, where she left her mark painting carpets on wood floors, opening vaulted ceilings and painting walls in adventurous pallets.

It takes discipline, knowledge and patience to create clay objects. Some of the more intricate creations need special attention. Her floaters-human figurines that seem to float on invisible life rafts-have to have their hair strained through a garlic press, then hollowed. “I never work to scale. Its more fun that way,” says Lynn.

The Roatan potter cuts her clay with a string into slab that is then run through a slab roller. Clay is then dried, cut and molded into the desired object. Pieces are sometimes left for as long as two weeks covered in plastic where they slowly lose moisture. It takes as long as eight hours in a kiln fired to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit to evaporate all remaining moisture and strengthen the clay. Then, as many as three coats of paint are applied before the piece is placed back in the kiln for another firing. The result is a glazed, brilliant looking object that should last for ever.

Not all her pieces successfully survive the consecutive firings. “I am saving all my mistakes… I will make one giant mosaic one day,” says Lynn about the pieces that sometimes crack during the long process.

Now Lynn’s Sandy Bay studio is full of pottery pieces on display and at different stages of being made. In August Lynn had her first independent showing at the Waves of Art Gallery. Within a week 18 of her pieces sold. “I like to see that my work makes people smile, because that makes me smile,” says Lynn. Lynn enjoys working on commission, where she already knows her clients and can match their wishes with her work. [/private]

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