interview by BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ
portraits by RICHARD RAMIREZ JR.
style by JENSEN EDMONDSON
all artwork copyright adalioryn
the los angeles-based psychomagical ceramic artist and jewelry designer speaks about a mystical explosion of creativity while transitioning
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — I always like to start by asking people their pronouns. As you know, I use “they/them.”
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — I use “she/her,” which has been an acceptance of myself this past year. It has been deep — understanding why “she/her” felt like it had to be earned by myself. Or perhaps gifted to myself.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — I feel like your ceramic work has been the most forward-facing expression of your practice, so I want to start there. How did you arrive at the materials you’re working with?
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — Well, my journey with clay started almost by accident. When I was in school, we had a friend pass away very intensely. My group just needed to keep near one another, and we began to work with clay. I started to make armor and weapons with it, of course. It’s funny because I was really tapped into my heart and spiritual alignments, having these intense visions every day. Even interactions with people and physical intimacy felt intense, though now it makes sense, of course. There was a girl inside of me that I knew was wanting to come out. I almost subconsciously had to safeguard her, shielding her in armor, defending her with weapons. So, I made these crowns and sigils that required care. I had a firm belief that the tendrils or the wielding of these flames, wings, and serpents needed to be acknowledged with care, or it would all be destroyed. And with anything truly powerful, it would also destroy anything that didn’t care for it. I often have to remind people it’s not the ceramics I’m worried about. The ceramics are strong — they will break through skin very easily before they themselves bow to breaking. And now, with metal, it’s even more that story. Metal won’t even bow to bone. And these fine materials that have caused wars — gifting them to people as a token or prayer feels like a new chapter. I really felt I needed to learn how to hold and be held again. It was a radical gesture that was really intense. I knew I couldn’t devote myself to armor and weapons only. It was almost as if I was at the top of a citadel made of stone and fire, watching everyone else live. I had to learn how to cradle and be cradled in order to set myself free. The path of the spider, perhaps.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — I love this language of holding and being held or cradled, as you say. And regarding the metal, you’re referring to this new chapter of working in jewelry. Can you speak more about how your practice has opened up into that realm? I am still so amazed by the garnet-and-gold engagement ring I commissioned from you that I get to be in daily communion with.
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — Jewelry chose me. I mean, I had dreams of being in front of jewels for months before. Someone near my heart who passed away had a series of dreams about me and jewelry. They said there were golden spiders weaving webs that were encrusted with jewels, with my name in the web! After that, I started to wonder. I’ve been studying under a goldsmith now for over a year. Learning to carve and mold with the waxes, into which will be poured silvers and golds. It has been so humbling. You were actually my first ceramics sale, did you know that? That ferocious black crown! And you were my first commission for my gold rings.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — What?! I did not realize I had been a first for you in those ways. What an honor.
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — It was such an honor to work on what “love” is around you and your partner. I’m deeply grateful for that experience, to channel with you the highest matters of the heart! I am humbled to say I haven’t stopped having ring orders since that first piece. I feel like people are called to them, these little golden halos holding the Earth’s finest spells. It has all been through word of mouth, like a message passed through the winds. I am a little shy still about how to present them to the world, but we’ll learn.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Whenever I witness your work, I get this sense that the pieces are in dialogue with another realm, that they are a part of a more spiritual dialogue. Does that resonate?
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — I have said from the beginning of touching clay, film, or metals that it is the universe or destiny that flows through and allows. Sometimes I’m working, and I will feel a spirit over my shoulder, watching. When
that happens, I get a chill throughout my body. It’s a sign of high honoring for me. I believe that it is the highest privilege to be a vessel for being played like a flute in creation. I also believe it’s my sacred duty to make the most beautiful things — things that are worth loving. When I see objects in museums, some thousands of years old, that’s a lot of hands passing to hands. All of them proclaiming that “we must care for this, this is worth making sure that the next generation can see.” It’s really real, that feeling of achieving the matter of preservation, of life. I feel like it’s ingrained in my howl as a trans woman. Making these ceramic works and my jewelry feels like it’s a part of reminding that beautiful, fragile people are worth preserving and learning how to care for.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Yes, this! I feel this when I witness your work. Living and working through a pandemic… What is it about your practice that has shifted most during this period?
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — Oh my gosh, you know I started to write a lot! I was writing with one of my chosen family members. It was a trip, and I even learned industry-standard format! I finished my first screenplay. To be possessed through sight, fingers, and words is so incredible.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Yes, the writing — god, you’re such a polymath! And it feels as if even more pathways are opening ahead of you this year. What can you share about some of the other streams of expression you are unfolding into right now?
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — Oh my god, so much! My dreams have just been wildly affirming. It’s funny, I’ve felt like I’ve needed to prove myself, to run up the hill as fast as I can. To build my fire so high. And all of a sudden, there are fields just rising up beneath my feet and out of my throat. And, for the first time, I feel more calm than I ever have before. It’s really intense. This past winter, I had a close producer friend welcome me into a studio session with her. The night before, I had a dream of walking in the mountains and being struck by lightning. I sang for the first time ever. And nine hours later, we had a rough demo of a song. It shook both of us, and now I’m working on an LP. So wild! I never thought in a million years I would be allowed by the angels to sing. I even found my name, Evangeline, through singing. Ever since it awoke Evangeline, a lot of synchronicities are happening. It feels like a prophecy.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — What’s it like preparing to share work in these other mediums and have your voice literally heard in a musical way?
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — Yeah, having my voice be heard is so ancient. I am studying classical music now. I am writing every day. It feels like a dream to work with these brilliant musical minds. As a woman starting HRT [hormone replacement therapy] this past year, I’m having dreams of songs that I write down and sing when I wake up. Stepping into this new life and allowing myself to follow Evangeline singing from the highest hills, it feels like I really just want to honor the wind that flows in and out of my body. Fuck, I’m just so grateful for everyone right now.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — What would you note as the through line between the different kinds of work you make? What brings it all together for you?
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — Honoring the Earth and everything here.
BOBBI SALVÖR MENUEZ — Anything else on the horizon to get excited about? Any special seeds you’re watering now?
EVANGELINE ADALIORYN — My jewelry, AdaLioryn! My solo show at Hunter Shaw Fine Art in September 2021. My album! Think, if Lana Del Rey took LSD and melded souls with Joanna Newsom. (Apologies to both of them.) I am learning how to watch and listen to what is blooming right now. I want to make sure Evangeline is honored in this blooming. She’s been so patient with me throughout my life. It’s time for me to really build her the most beautiful ships and temples. There’s something going on, something in the soil and the wind whispering to me day and night. Whatever it is, it feels like home.
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