A big, black, regal bird that dates back to Biblical times, the raven has always fascinated Silver City potter Phoebe Lawrence. "I am especially interested in the spiritual significance of ravens in so many native cultures around the world, particularly in the western United States," she says. "Ravens have soul."
Lawrence is celebrating the bird in a comprehensive exhibit titled "All Things Raven-ous" at the Silver City Public Library, 515 W. College, through the end of February. The show features an array of her unique clay forms: raven kachinas, raven wraps, raven havens, wall hangings, serving pieces, and other "you-name-it" raven items. She has also included some of her favorite raven-related books in the display.
A New Mexico native with a lifelong interest in clay, Lawrence began working in ceramics in 1970. In recent years, she has been experimenting with slab work and began playing with soft slabs to create "raven wrap" sculptures. Working with three-dimensional forms ultimately led to a more refined and stylized type of sculpture, the kachinas. A recent idea of combining architectural forms with miniature clay birds has given rise to "raven havens."
Birds are a constant presence in Lawrence's life and have long been a theme in her clay work. Living on a large lot filled with trees in the upper reaches of Silver City, she is surrounded by colorful, migrating birds; the echoing cries of white wing doves; and the expressive caws of ravens.
A professional potter for 40 years, today her work is sold in Denver and Santa Fe as well as at Mariah's Copper Quail Gallery in Silver City.
"All Things Raven-ous" is part of the library's program of featuring the works of local individuals and groups in its glass display cases each month. Also during February, check out the Gila Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico's display of relics, tools, and information about the organization's amazing work.
Both exhibits can be enjoyed at the library Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.