© 2015, Carolyn Bernard Young, Protecting Our Joy, 7" x 8", stoneware

© 2015, Carolyn Bernard Young, Protecting Our Joy, 7″ x 8″, stoneware

My work is contemporary Native American pottery.  With a potter’s wheel or slab or clay, and electric kiln, I try to bring a modern voice to the clay, while still honoring the art and traditions of my ancestors.  Using a sgraffito technique to carve totems, spirits, and patterns into my pottery is an expression of my deep respect for all Native American culture and especially my beloved Choctaw tribe. The feel of the leather hard clay as I carve it feeds my soul, but the contrast between the white clay and black underglaze makes my heart sing.  Brightly colored glazes inside add an element of surprise and whimsy that makes people smile.

For 33 years, I was a quality engineer for a major aerospace company.  Midway through my career, looking for a way to relieve stress, I discovered and fell in love with clay.  Without a degree in art, I was determined to learn from the best.  For many years, I spent a week each summer at Arrowmont School of Art in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, learning from the best:  Lana Wilson, Ellen Shankin, Josh DeWeese, Pete Pinnell, and Kathy Triplett to name a few.  At home, I took classes from the best in Texas – Dale Neese, Daphne Hatcher, Mark Epstein and many others.  I bought a wheel and practiced my craft every day, preparing for the day I could retire and live my dream – to be a full-time potter.

That day finally came in 2009, but it wasn’t until I married my long-lost love, Sam, in 2011 that my dream took flight. With his unerring support, the body of work you see today was born following our extended honeymoon through the southwest.

My work often features Sacred Spirits, or totems, which appeal to a wide audience due to the deep emotional connection the animals evoke.  More recently, I have begun to explore the history of my heritage and transform events in my mind’s eye to my pottery.

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Contact Carolyn at 817-269-5375 or