Late August 2020 saw a contingent of NMPCA members among ceramics enthusiasts convening for a weekend of workshops at the historic Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu.
This small group of potters braved the pandemic’s relative lull to venture out to the remote and rustic Ghost Ranch. The natural charms of the ranch’s landscape, along with the promise of exploring new ceramics methods, and the desire to be in community among other ceramists, were irresistible.
The NM Connections workshop is sponsored by NMPCA every 2 years, and features presentations by local NMPCA ceramic artists. This year, the presenters were members Judy Nelson-Moore, Andrea Pichaida, Joe Bova and Michael Thornton.
Being mindful of Covid19 protocols, NMPCA kept enrollment for this year’s workshop to a bare minimum, in compliance with social distancing requirements. Face masks were de rigueur.
Since Ghost Ranch has had to severely curtail it’s programming this year, we were among their few guests at that time. Those familiar with the ranch observed a radical departure from the norm. The ranch’s protocols included: temperature checks on entry, and segregated rooms. Its dining hall featured hands-off service, and disposable dishes.
In the hands-on workshops, Judy Nelson-Moore and Andrea Pichaida teamed up for an informative presentation on Paperclay Sculpture. Andrea shared her perspective as an immigrant from Chile, along with her unique approach to sculpture. Judy shared her vast knowledge of paper clay techniques, and followed up with an illuminating evening slide show of international paperclay artists.
Joe Bova presented a workshop on altering wheel-thrown forms in a zoomorphic fashion, producing forms he calls Potimals. Joe shared lore from his extensive experience as he demonstrated the techniques he uses in his signature anthropomorphic approach to pottery.
Michael Thornton presented Naked Raku 2 Ways. Participants prepped the bisque ware they had brought with them for the raku firing, using either of the One-step or Two-step techniques.
Michael demonstrated. Dramatic results ensued, as expected from the post-firing reduction!
Despite intermittent wind and rain, it was a worthwhile and enjoyable weekend of ceramic exploration and community!