|by Deno J. Andrews
I regularly visit the Bender Cues website because I enjoy the unique craftsmanship and artistry that Mike and Tracy bring to the cue industry. I’m also fond of Native American pottery. Needless to say, the cue triptych “Lonesome Gods: Mimbres of the Mogollon” caught my eye. Inspired by the pottery of the Mimbres, Tracy Dunham chose their black and white pottery as the primary motif for the three Bender Cues in the series.
Tracy studied the designs painted on Mimbres pottery. The circular engravings on each of the cues are Tracy’s renderings of a top view of bowls made between 1,000-1,300 CE. The engravings are beautifully executed, exhibiting the same type of patterns and fine line detail found on Mimbres pottery. While each cue is spectacular in its own way, the middle cue in the photo is my favorite. Spliced high-and-low points crafted of holly, ebony, and ivory contrast nicely against the ebony nose and butt sleeve. The Mimbres designs beautifully integrate into the cue’s segmented handle. What I appreciate most about the cues in general is the risky choice of engraving such unique designs around the cue. Typically, designs on pool cues are replicated around a cue, rather than the entire cue being a singular work of art. The large circular designs balance nicely to the eye. A closer look at the cue reveals that each design is different. I also appreciate that the designs are artistic, while at the same time it is clear that these cues play as well as they look.
Shortly after the year 1,300, the Mimbres culture stopped producing pottery and disappeared. Nobody knows how or why the culture disappeared. Their pottery designs did not resurface in any other culture’s works. Luckily the mysterious disappearance of the Mimbres has intrigued Tracy and inspired these cues, which showcase the artistry of a truly gifted group of people. Tracy states that artwork on this series of cues as “a gesture of my deep admiration and respect” of the Mimbres. Thanks to Mike and Tracy for creating such wonderful works that pay homage to the Mimbres and their contribution to Native American art.