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Silver City Clay Festival molding masterpieces

The Silver City Clay Festival will offer workshops and more through July 21. (Courtesy of Jay Hemphill)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Get ready to get your hands dirty during the Silver City Clay Festival.

The event continues today through July 21. It will feature numerous events including workshops, demonstrations, presentations, lectures and youth activities.

Potter and builder Mary Giardina will lead the “Adobe Building Mud Immersion” workshop from Monday, July 15, through Friday, July 19, at Wild Crafted Clay Pottery Studio in Cliff, N.M.

Attendees will learn how to make wild harvested adobe blocks and bricks to build structures as well as how to create mixes to construct walls and other things.

“She started restoring an adobe building that was on her property which has now become her pottery studio and in the process she learned all about building with clay and mud,” said Jessa Tumposky, communications specialist for the Clay Festival. “The workshop is happening at her studio so there will be both demonstrations and lectures and hands-on stuff happening. She will be able to tour everyone around her own work, working on the adobe studio and she’s also going to cover some other natural building techniques that people in her community use in both Cliff and Gila, New Mexico.”

Clay has a historical and cultural significance to Navajo artist Romaine Begay, which he will share during the “Clay Hand Building and Carving Your History” workshop Tuesday, July 16, through Thursday, July 18, at Leyba & Ingalls, 315 N. Bullard St. in Silver City. Begay, who is a clay artist, also has a background in painting and teaches in the Cobre School District.

“His work is contemporary but he also is aware of and has learned about traditions from his Navajo culture and his true passion, more than the traditional clay work, is integrating the stories and imagery and the philosophy of not just of clay but the earth,” Tumposky said. “He’s going to share that in his workshop about honoring the earth and working with clay with that understanding of respect for the earth … But the main focus is going to be on personal and cultural histories and just supporting students in acknowledging that all different kind of cultures have a background with clay.”

Award-winning Taos Pueblo potter Pam Lujan-Hauer will host demonstrations on Thursday, July 18, and Friday, July 19, at Copper Quail Gallery, 211A N. Texas St. Lujan-Hauer, who works with micaceous clay native to Taos Pueblo, also will be on hand at the Makers Market on Market on Saturday, July 20, between The Big Ditch and Texas street. The market will feature storytelling, live music, about 15 clay art vendors and presentations.

Also on Saturday, the public can drop in and create and design bowls for the Empty Bowls project at Syzygy Tile, 106 N. Bullard. The bowls will be donated to the Empty Bowls event held in the fall that benefits food security projects in the community. Local clay artists Judy Menefee and Zoe Wolfe will be on hand to help fire and glaze the bowls.

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