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Fanciful World of Nature in Clay


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

A whirlwind of excitement swirl from an efflorescent smile, this force of nature draws you into the “space” occupied by local ceramic artist Mary Lynch. You’ve stepped over a boundary passing from the mundane into a fanciful world of nature swirling, reaching, stretching, and bending into objects you would swear came in for one of Tolkien’s fantastic tales. 

Mary’s clay sculptures are the products of a continual evolution in creative spirit, education, and techniques. Her life experiences began in Vernal, Utah and Sunnyvale, California. The journey led her through two years at BYU, getting married, and working as a medical assistant. But, common to many women of her era, Mary turned to raising five children, a heroic effort on its own, and operated two cottage industries from home: first, Daisy Clean Inc., cleaning new homes for builders in the Salt Lake Valley, the other Dawn International. As life often throws down a curve or two in the road, Mary became a single parent for four and a half years before she married her second husband David, who she credits for encouraging her artistic pursuits.

David’s career transported the family to Huntsville, Texas, where Mary returned to school at Sam Houston State University. She completed a BFA degree in Studio Art, graduating in 1999, magna cum laude at the age of 58. During this time, Mary also received two study abroad opportunities on scholarship, one in the summer of 1998 to Puebla, Mexico for advanced ceramics and drawing, where she saw the homes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The second scholarship opportunity was in 1999, to Florence, Italy for her last Art History class before graduation. Both experiences influenced her work in clay. The family moved to Manassas, Virginia, where Mary secured a job as a high school art teacher for seven years, eager to pass along her knowledge and enthusiasm for the creative process. Upon retirement, and now widowed, Mary chose Anthem, AZ, in 2007, as her new home where she has developed a unique and organic style in her ceramic designs.

Always the eager student, Mary continued her quest in clay, inspired by Joe Woodford, who in turn guided her to Marjon Ceramics, a Phoenix distributor of clay. There she studied with Peter Flynn for a year before transferring to Glendale Community College. At GCC, Mary studied with Dr. Harry Kaino and Katheryn Sins; she credits all three of these instructors among her most talented mentors. Today, Mary works from her home studio using an electric kin, oxidation, for her work.  Last year, she met Judi Combs with Thunderbird Artists, who juried her into the Arizona Fine Art Expo 2015. Mary also recognizes the Sonoran Arts League for her success in The Gallery at el Pedregal and accepting her into the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour this past November. She was also thrilled to be chosen as one of the cover artists for the League’s 2015 catalog produced for the tour.

At 73 years old, Mary Lynch is a creative fireball displaying no signs of burning out.
To view Mary’s work, visit her Web site at, email her at, or visit her at the Arizona Fine Arts Expo, Jan. 22 through April 3, 2016, located at 26540 N. Scottsdale Road, in Scottsdale.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at