It’s All Temporary: My Stuff & Stories May 25

fullsizeoutput_1fc6.jpegIf Okanogan County were to elect an official county bird, I would vote for the quail. I understand this quirky little bird is not native to the county, but then neither am I. With its bouncy topknot, woo-hoo call, and clumsy strut the beloved quail is frequently found in the work of local artists. Some of my favorite quail representations are in the pottery of the late Everett Lynch (1898-1988).

A retired U.S. Forest Service district ranger, Everett and his wife Dorothy, a weaver, were giants in the local arts and crafts scene. I felt privileged to interview them not long after I moved here. I always feel privileged to interview artists of note, and I was already familiar with Everett’s work. One of our wedding gifts was a covered dish created by him, inscribed “for John + Mary.” (top shelf of photo) Since then I’ve acquired quite a bit of Lynch pottery thanks to the sharp eye of my antiquer friend, Harley, who occasionally finds his work at (gasp) yard sales.

I believe Everett made his pottery not only to be admired but to be used. That, of course, comes with the risk of breakage and chipping. I’m willing to take the risk in exchange for the simple joy of holding and using art in every day life. Yet when I broke the beautiful brown bowl with quail design (top shelf, right), I was appalled. It had been one of my favorites. It was a clean break, though, right down the center. I glued the two pieces together and continue to use the bowl for late night popcorn.

That’s the point of collecting and keeping stuff. It’s a show of appreciation and, at the same time, an acknowledgement that all things material are in some sense fragile, temporary, or in a temporary form. All our stuff will eventually break, shatter, erode, melt, fade, rot, or evolve into something else. As do we.

Pottery by the late Everett Lynch

(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of. I invite you to consider the stories attached to the stuff you treasure—maybe even share them.)

5 thoughts on “It’s All Temporary: My Stuff & Stories May 25

  1. Tim Lynch

    Hello Mary!

    I am Tim Lynch, grandson of Everett, a potter and collector of my grandfather’s work. If I am reading you correctly, the bowl in the photo, top shelf, upper right, is actually a bowl I made. I designed that bird with a French curve to honor my grandfather’s propensity to anthropomorphize his work. I am continually amazed at his clean lines and designs on his pots. How did he do that??!! I have attempted to emulate his handles and lids. Also, the bird bowl two pots over is one I made. Grandpa usually had a stamp for his signature. I have never been that adept.

    Unfortunately, in 2015, I suffered a life-threatening accident that took me out of the studio for a few years. Since retiring as a teacher in 2018, I have returned to the studio and am attempting to find my way once again. I am located in East Wenatchee, WA.

    My childhood was filled with trips to Tonasket. Imagine being a child and having your grandfather present you with a clay bird or a clay owl that he made. It was wondrous. I miss the atmosphere of Tonasket, have considered relocating. Everett and Dorothy are buried next to each other in the Tonasket Cemetery.

    Kind regards,

    Tim Lynch


    1. Mary Koch

      Tim, I rejoice at being corrected and learning that the Lynch legacy continues. I also have some work by Ward (your dad? uncle?). I love both your bowls and hope you agree with my philosophy of treasuring them by using them. Congratulations on returning to the studio, a place where you indisputably belong.


  2. Interesting stories. I was born in Tonasket in 1952, we lived in Oroville but our family up and left in 1955. Grandparents on the hill in Tonasket, so returned many times. I remember visiting the Lynch studio once, must have been in the late 60s. Remember the wheel! My mother gave me a Lynch cookie jar as a gift once and I inherited a bowl when my Dad died in 2010. The cookie jar has the stamp Tonasketware, but the bowl only is signed Lynch. Would love to submit some photos and get your take on these pieces. Dennis George (


  3. I recently found an adorable little black pottery creamer in a thrift store here in Wilmington, North Carolina, which I’ve discovered was one of Everett Lynch’s! Such a pretty little anthropomorphic piece and it feels so lovely in the hand. I’m glad I had the fortune to rescue it. I wonder what its story is, that it found itself so far from home 🙂


  4. I’m amazed that the little bird made it to the other side of the country. Quail are so endearing, both when replicated in ceramic and in real life. I had a family — mom, dad, and three juveniles — pecking away at seeds on my patio yesterday morning. I happily stood still and watched them for a very long time. Enjoy your Lynch treasure!


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