Festival Focus on Craft

Silver City event brings artisans from across the southwest


Leading the efforts for putting together the Silver City 2024 CLAY Festival Market Susan Mach is no stranger to sharing her wares in market settings. The festival is July 22-28.

Going to college with a focus on print-making, Mach fell in love with clay after she got out.

“I went into the peace corps, enjoyed the simplicity of hand building and firing and started taking more classes at community college,” she said.

Mach taught high school in Ontario, California for 23 years. She said she got to rebuild the ceramics program there. Three years ago, she moved to Silver City.

“A big part of it was the arts community here and knowing there was a good group of clay artists here,” she said. “I started submitting to the clay fest, Melanie Zipin asked if I wanted to join, and I’ve been busy ever since.

This year she has had her hands full organizing the market part of the festival.

“It’s been fun,” she said, “Emailing back and forth to artists. There is such a great connection between (Silver City and) Tucson and northern New Mexico. I have loved walking through the market to see what people are making. It is an international show and it’s interesting to see the styles people are working in.”

The market will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 27, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, July 28. More than 15 local and visiting Southwest clay artists will present a variety of functional and sculptural work for sale. She said, there will be live music at the market, with Peter Dahl-Bredine and Marc Yaxley on Saturday and Barry Namm on Sunday. Food will also be for sale at the venue. 

The market takes place in the ballroom of the downtown Murray Hotel, 200 W. Broadway St. in Silver City. Entrance is free.

The theme for the juried exhibit this year is “From the Earth,” Mach said. This exhibit is held across the street from the hotel at Light Art Space Gallery, 209 W. Broadway.

“Jarod Tso is the visiting artist,” she added. “I always enjoy seeing who will be here giving workshops, there is always some great artists for workshops.”

In addition to a workshop with Tso, there will be “The Pigment Hunting Workshop” with Scott Sutton and “Clay Carving Workshop” with Athena Steen. Both of these workshops will take place at Whiskey Creek Zócalo. The “Painted Pot Workshop” with Bede Clarke will be held at Diana Ingalls Leyba Studio and Gallery.

In honor of CLAY Festival week and ceramics in general, Bear Mountain Lodge (60 Bear Mountain Ranch Rd., Silver City) serves a special brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, July 28. The creative menu and price can be found on the website. Reservations are necessary.

For further information on the CLAY Festival and Market, visit clayfestival.com.