Wednesday, November 8, 2017


clay, sawdust firing & embellishments

I'm always sharing with you the student's favorite projects,
well this is one of mine.
I've been teaching the Pueblo Pottery technique off and on since the mid 1980's.
I saw it first hand when I traveled thru small pottery villages in Mexico
as a college student in the late 1970's,
not only the making of it but the primitive firing techniques as well.
I began collecting pieces to teach with and hope to one day own a Maria Martinez pot
from our own Southwest.
I've watched videos of Maria working and firing 
so I can teach this in an authentic way. 

My favorite student piece from last school year was this one by sophomore Olivia Kruger.
The way the flames and carbon licked and embedded into her pot is so sensory.
The ragged lip is sensational as well,
making it really feel from the earth.
And the clay beads she made to embellish with along the side walls is the perfect finishing touch.
Bravo Olivia!

These next two cuties were made by senior Marjorie Balaoro.
She enjoyed the process so much that she did a second one.
The blue beads against the dark backgroud really make the pieces pop!

If you are noticing a slight sheen to these pieces it's because after they come out of the ash,
we wash them off and then apply a thick layer of a glue and water mixture to seal them.
It really brings the surface coating alive.

Now check out this masterpiece by senior Eunice Shim.
Love, love love all that she embellished with.
Braiding multiple waxed linens together,
finding natural jute and braiding it with yarns,
and then the ultimate,
using the dried flowers I save along the top edge.
Brilliant critical thinking Eunice!
I miss you.

And oh my,
what do we have here?
Two gorgeous little works by good friends,
juniors Ylia Madayag & Vincent Nguyen.
Both so lovely and delicate feeling.
I was lucky enough that Ylia decided to sell hers at Open House
 so I snatched it up to teach with this year.
I love to show students outstanding examples of their peers works.

Oh boy,
check out this cool one by junior Sarah Oh.
Loved the irregular off-balance lip and how she scalloped it.
And look at all the fun embellishing she wove and stitched on as well.

We end with this sweet one by senior Ashley Iseri.
I'm so sorry it's a bit blurry.
But it was defiantly a must include work for next years students to inspire them with.
So neat how she thought to hang it instead of stand it.
See how she incorporated those little coil handles on either side
 because she knew right from the get go that she wanted to hang it.

Remarkable pieces all of you.
Thank you always for your incredible effort that you bring to the table everyday.


  1. These are all exceptional, so I hesitated to call out any one ... but I can't resist kudos to Eunice for her braided embellishments.

    And a story, if I may. When I was an elementary school librarian, one of my (many) favorite read-aloud books was "The pot that Juan built." It is a sing-song take on "The house that Jack built" that details the life and art of Juan Quezada of Mata Ortiz. You can Google it to learn more (although you may already be well aware). In any case, when we were in Santa Fe, I found a gallery that had several Juan Quezada pots. I just stood there and looked and looked and looked for the longest time, trying to fill my mind with the reality of them. How art can save a village, how a village can save an art.

  2. Eunice created so many wonderful pieces for my art classes in her 6 years here at Whitney. She is greatly missed already.

    And your story is powerful Liz, thank you for sharing it.