The Silver City Clay Festival returns July 30-August 3.
The third annual Silver City Clay Festival, July 30-August 3, will once again show what's special about one of humankind's most basic building and artistic materials. Activities throughout downtown will encompass archeology, contemporary ceramics, natural building techniques, preservation and restoration, and Mata Ortiz pottery.
The third annual Silver City Clay Festival celebrates the art and artistry of clay. (Photo above by Dennis Weller, below by Adrienne Booth)
The festival formally kicks off with the Clay Gala Opening Night Reception, Thursday, July 31, 6-9 p.m., at the historic Carter House, 101 N. Cooper St. The "casually elegant" evening fundraiser will include hors d'oeuvres, desserts and beverages in addition to the opening of the festival's international juried exhibition, "A Tile & A Vessel." Local artist Claude W. Smith III will offer handcrafted ceramic tumblers to serve the beverages in for those interested in purchasing a vessel of their own. Tickets cost $25 a person.
"A Tile & A Vessel" requires that each entry consist of two clay components: the artist's interpretation of a vessel and the artist's interpretation of a tile, which must relate to each other in design and/or function. It will continue on view at the Historic Carter House August 1-3.
Two other international juried exhibitions will also be featured. The outdoor digital exhibition, "Private ProJECT," recognizes artists and their large-scale clay and mosaic private installations, which will be exhibited as digital projections on Bullard Street, beginning with dancing and music the evening of Saturday, August 2. "Neo-Mimbreño 2014" features contemporary works of all media, influenced or inspired by designs of the ancient Mimbres pottery of the Southwest. Pieces will be displayed at both the Western New Mexico University Museum and the McCray Gallery, opening August 2.
Featured artist exhibitions will include:
- Patrick Shia Crabb at Bear Mountain Lodge, 60 Bear Mountain Ranch Road. Crabb's work centers on a "deconstructive approach" seen in his container vessels, architectural interpretations, and the figure. His clay pieces are altered wheel-thrown forms, slab to press mold constructions, and fired in multiple low-temperature ways. Crabb has served as a professor of art at Santa Ana College for over 35 years and was a 1992 Fulbright Scholar.
- Sara Lee D'Alessandro at the El Sol Theatre Front Gallery on Bullard Street. "Mud Like a Blessing" presents a glimpse into a sculptor's 50-year thrall with clay as a sculptural medium. Unencumbered with the traditional ceramic process, D'Alessandro's sculpture exploits clay's plasticity, immediacy and the creation of unique form. This approach offers an interesting counterpoint and balance to the process of tile and mosaic.
- Marko Fields (location to come). Fields is resident artist and professor of visual art at Concordia University, St. Paul. He has served as Publications Director for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts for nearly seven years. He also regularly travels to Mata Ortiz in Mexico and is Spencer MacCallum's official biographer.
Crabb will also be among the artists offering hands-on workshops during the festival. His three-day workshop, "Raku: A Deconstructive Approach," will include creating a sculptural vessel based on his approach to Raku pottery. Registration fee is $185.
Learn the techniques of "Mata Ortiz Pottery" from contemporary masters Diego Valles and Carla Martínez in a two-day workshop. Participants will get to hand-build their own vessel, pit firing the work at the conclusion of the workshop. Registration fee is $155.
Paul Lewing's three-day workshop, "New Directions in China Painting," will explore methods of applying and firing china paint on pottery and ceramic tile. Participants will use all kinds of brushes, and will also stamp, print, spray and stencil china paints. Work will be fired each night, and students will leave with finished pieces. Registration fee is $185.
Explore "Architectural Ceramics" with installation artist Kathryn Allen. Her two-day workshop will include all aspects of creating large-scale slab construction: bas-relief, drape molding, miter slab work and carving. The class will participate in designing and creating a site-specific mural that will later be donated. A potluck and discussion will follow the Wednesday workshop, starting at 6:30 p.m. Registration fee is $155.
Additional festival offerings include a lecture series covering topics from contemporary ceramics to chocolate use and exchange in the Prehispanic American Southwest. All lectures will take place at the Seedboat Center for the Arts Performance Space, 214 W. Yankie St., August 1-2. Speakers include John and Kathy Heisey, Carole Crews, Sara Lee D'Alessandro, Marko Fields, Patricia Crown, Jake Barrow, Paul Lewing and Patrick Crabb. Panel discussions will include an archeological panel titled "Clay is Life" as well as a Mata Ortiz panel discussion including historians and artists such as Spencer MacCallum and Diego Valles.
A weekend Clayfest Market, August 2-3, will provide a venue for artists and entrepreneurs to showcase their work while simultaneously featuring a variety of live demonstrations free and open to the public. The market will be located in the Murray Hotel Ballroom, 200 W. Broadway St., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Attendees can also partake in "Down to Earth" yoga and an edible "Mud Pie" contest at the Silver City Farmers' Market.
Activities for youth will include "Clay Play: Exploring Our Wilderness Heritage," sessions for grades three through six. Participants will gain an understanding of their heritage, fostering cultural pride and providing an outlet for personal expression and creativity. Each free session is limited to 15 children per workshop; call to pre-register beginning July 1.
Dates, times and locations for "Clay Play" are:
July 28, 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m., Gila Valley Library, 400 Hwy. 211, Gila, 535-4120.
July 29-August 1, 10-11:30 a.m., Silver City Public Library, 515 W. College Ave., 538-3672.
July 29-August 1, 2-3:30 p.m., Bayard Public Library, 1112 Central Ave., 537-6244.
Youth from pre-K through sixth grade are invited to enjoy "Mud Fun!," playing with clay at the Western Stationers parking lot, 737 N. Bullard. The free event is Saturday, August 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sunday, August 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Registration is not required; call 538-5560 to learn more.
A children's tile class with artist Judy Menefee will help get kids in the clay spirit before the festival opens, July 12 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Silver City Museum, 312 W. Broadway. Ages eight and up, $5; registration begins July 1. 538-5921.
Another pre-festival event — this one definitely for adults — is the Clay Poker Tournament Fundraiser, July 26 starting at 3 p.m., at the former Elks lodge, 315 N. Texas St. Why poker? Simple — the best poker chips in the world are made of clay. Texas Hold 'Em will be the game of choice with donated prizes for the final 10 players, including two different week-long condo resort vacations.
To register to play in the tournament, the minimum donation is $50. Check-in begins at 2:30 p.m. Anyone over the age of 21 may observe the tournament without needing to register, although donations will be taken at the door.
Including designated breaks, the tournament may last six to eight hours. An outdoor beer garden will include music, pizza and beer for purchase.
For further information on the 2014 festival, see complete schedule
in this issue and visit www.ClayFestival.com.