Melvena Swimmer

Coming from a family of pottery artists it was natural for Melvena Swimmer to pick up a ball of clay at 5 years old. Her mother Marilyn Swimmer and her grandmother Amanda Swimmer would teach her the traditional methods of creating pottery using sea shells, stones, wooden sticks and paddles.

As Melvena got older Marilyn and Amanda taught her their families method to firing the pottery. Melvena has passed these techniques onto her own children as well as teaching students at the Oconaluftee Indian Village.

When practicing this craft Melvena Swimmer says she has been taught by the greatest teacher, her mom. Her goal is to continue her ways in pottery making by using her hands to create, to honor her and keep the traditional skills and techniques in use.

Cherokee artist Melvina Swimmer

“I’ve been taught by the greatest teacher, my mom.”