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New Mexico Connections -- August 2022

22 Aug 2022 3:42 PM | Cirrelda Snider-Bryan (Administrator)
We came together August 19-21, 2022, to renew our community in clay and share techniques and ideas with each other.  This year's New Mexico Connections workshop brought six experienced NMPCA members to share their knowledge, learn together, and celebrate creativity in the beauty of Ghost Ranch for two full days. Album of more photos posted to the NMPCA Facebook page

Presenters were Luisa Baldinger & Judy Nelson-Moore, Yuriy Luzov, Brant Palley & Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, Merlene Walker. Workshop Coordinator: Michael Thornton, NMPCA VP.

Judy and Luisa give a demo on applying Terra Sig.

Luisa Baldinger & Judy Nelson-Moore - Terra Sigillata

Luisa Baldinger, in collaboration with Judy Nelson-Moore, will be discussing the preparation of Terra Sigillata, the addition of various colorants to Terra Sigillata and its application to the hand-built form.

Luisa Baldinger: My vessels are simply sculptural forms - vehicles for the exploration of color, surface, movement in three dimensions. Terra sigillata, stains and engobes are used to enhance form and surface, followed by a "fume" firing in aluminum foil saggars. I grew up in Santa Fe, and returning here in 1980 I soon married well-known potter, Frank Willett.  For more than forty years we partnered in a number of ceramic adventures: producing a line of functional work, “Sunridge Pottery," combining our skills in wheel thrown pottery and slab-made work decorated with a landscape motif; we designed and produced “Santa Fe Lights,” a line of clay architectural lighting fixtures; and we owned and managed Santa Fe Pottery, a fine craft shop on historic Guadalupe Street carrying the work of over eighty local and regional craftspeople. More info at:

Luisa Baldinger sprays her pot with Terra Sig. 

Judy Nelson-Moore is an artist born in Denver, Colorado, who moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico 20 years ago. Having worked with clay in all forms of expression for over 45 years, she is currently concentrating on sculpture using paper clay. She enjoys exploring mixed media additions during the ceramic construction process or after the firing. These additions might be fabric, paper collage, paint, or other mixed media. Over the years, she studied with many wonderful clay artists, and realized that what she admired about many artists’ work was not the technical expertise, but the spirit and soul in their work. The combination of these experiences, plus a strong interest and affinity for primitive and indigenous art of many cultures, has helped to form the imagery and motivation for her sculpture. More info at:

Samples of Terra Sigillata with different oxide and stain washes added. Made by Judy and Luisa.

Yuriy Luzov - Polymer Clay

Yuriy using camera over his work table to display on screen.

Yuriy Luzov demonstrated the basics of murrine construction in Polymer Clay, with several cane profiles to generate a great variety of geometric patterns and three dimensional forms. Bigger, more elaborate sculptures may be constructed with a combination of these simple tessellated forms. With a good foundation, participants were able to take this technique quite far. Materials provided for hands-on learning.

Yuriy observing Leonard Baca's cane compositions.

Polymer clay is a medium that fascinated Yuriy's inner child in high school, and he's been working with it ever since.  Yuriy discovered the Murrine technique mostly on his own with minimal external influence, and therefore his style has developed in a unique way.

Born in Minsk, Belarus in 1982, Yuriy immigrated to the United States in 1994.  "As a child, seeds of a future in clay were planted when I discovered vast amounts of wild ball clay at my grandparents’ homestead in Ukraine, where I spent my summers.  In Colorado, I discovered atmospheric firing.  Now I have an anagama kiln of my own in Santa Fe, and am excited to build on over a decade of experience firing a variety of wood kilns around Colorado and New Mexico." More info on FB - Yuriy Sergeyevich Luzov   

Yuriy observing Andrea Pichaida's compositions.

Brant Palley and Cirrelda Snider-Bryan - Stains and Oxides in Clay

Brainstormed list of how participants use oxides and stains. 

A discussion about color in clay with a ceramic materials fabrication expert and a ceramics educator, focused on oxides and stains. Participants gained hands-on experience mixing a body-stain into porcelain, and making test tiles. Materials provided. Printed information will be shared: Mason Stain Ingredients; Joan Weissman Mason Body Stains for Porcelain, and more. Brant Palley was unable to be with us due to recuperation from recent surgery.  A handout shared his words on stains and oxides, and he provided a Mason Color Inc. Reference Guide for each participant. 

Brant Palley – Owner of New Mexico Clay since 1985. Graduate of Otis Art Institute, 1979.  Clay Body Designer, Webmaster at, Kiln Expert, and ... Head Floor Sweeper. More info about Brant & NM Clay:

Tomás Wolff's body stain tile portrait. 

Cirrelda Snider-Bryan – Artist/Educator/Community Muralist. Creator of clay programs/instructor of: cirrelda’s clases de clay (Pot Hollow South studio) and Clay Science at the Museum (NMMNHS). Whole school tile mural coordinator at Alvarado and Alameda Elementary schools, APS. Co-coordinator Protect Our Wildlife Corridors Community Mosaics, a project of Pathways located in Placitas, NM. Board member of NMPCA 2021-2024, editor of The Slip Trail.  More info on Cirrelda:,

Andrea Pichaida's body stain applied to porcelain on a bowl form. 

Merlene Walker - Precious Metal Clay

Merlene "Mo" Walker giving her introduction to Precious Metal Clay.

Merlene conducted a hands-on workshop in Precious Metal Clay. If you like working with clay, and you love silver jewelry, this is the best of both worlds!  Participants saw Merlene demonstrate how to work with Precious Metal Clay. They learned the basics: how to texture, shape and cut the clay; how to fire, polish and finish your work to best bring out the design. Students learned these methods using 7 grams of Silver Metal clay. Tool kits were supplied. 

Silver metal clay pieces drying ahead of firing with the help of hot plates. 

Merlene Walker worked in a corporate environment for over 25 years. After years of taking art classes, and with the help of "The Artist Way" workshop, Merlene took a leap of faith and left her job to pursue a degree in art. She designs and facilitates metal clay classes and creative workshops to help others have fun and learn about the transformative power of creative possibilities in their life.  I am stimulated by museums, nature, books, and classes of all kinds. But my favorite stimulation is the exchange of ideas and experiences with others. I am better able to process my own thoughts more clearly as I listen to others share their experiences. Teaching provides the perfect venue for this exchange.” As a PMC instructor, certified by Tim McCreight, and cross-certified in Art Clay®, Merlene maintains memberships in the NMPCA and Eldorado Arts and Craft Association. 

More info at:

Mo dunking silver metal clay pieces into water while hot, just out of kiln. 

Thanks to Michael Thornton and all the presenters for the text of this article. Photos by the editor.

-Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, editor for The Slip Trail.

Rainy day at Piñon Pottery Studio, complete with moss growing on the edges of the puddles and rain plinking on the sheet metal. 

We call ourselves the NMPCA!