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My work with micaceous clay began several years ago when I took a short-term class at the Taos Art Museum with Dawning Pollen Shorty. Immediately I found the experience to be satisfying and an opportunity to be creative in a medium that offers many options for the one who is learning as well as the ones who are experienced in pottery making. Classes at UNM-Taos with another Taos Pueblo potter, Antonia Lujan, confirmed for me that working with clay was something for which I had an affinity. Now, six years later, I continue to discover new ways that the clay guides me in new directions and creativity. That said, I need to be clear that the pottery work that I do is done in the traditional way of the potters of the Rio Grande Valley, particularly Taos. The clay that I use I dig myself in the mountains near Taos. After cleaning and processing I allow it to set for at least a year before using it in making pottery. I work in the traditional hand-coil way, building my pieces from balls of clay into the desired shape. After smoothing they are polished with river stones and then slipped with a mica slip that also comes from the mountains near Taos. Next they are fired in an open-pit cedar fire. It is from this firing, the proximity of a burning cedar log, that the micaceous clay will acquire the black “clouds” that are typical of open-pit firing. From here they may have horsehair added when they are just out of the fire to give them the “spidery” look that enhances the finish of the pots. Or, they may instead be covered with manure and left so that through the “reduction” process the clay, deprived of oxygen, is turned black and the finished piece is a pure black color. After they have cooled I often add turquoise stones to the finished pieces. In the tradition of the Pueblo Indians turquoise is a healing stone and its addition to the piece brings healing and wholeness to the one who possesses it. The pieces that I create are sometimes traditional pieces but often I will put my own unique signature to the design. I look for ideas in the pieces of the past as well as the present. I also look to the work of potters from all the Pueblo traditions; the Anasazi, the Hopi, the Santa Clara, the San Ildefonso, the Acoma and many other sources.
My wife and I moved to Taos in 2005 after living in the Chicago area for nearly 50 years. I was a United Methodist pastor in northern Illinois for 40 years, serving pastorates in Wood Dale, Elgin and Buffalo Grove. Born in California, my childhood and youth was spent in northwest Iowa. I am active in the Taos Milagro Rotary Club and have been a Rotarian for more than 25 years. My favorite pastimes are reading and travel. In 2015 and 2016 I walked two Camino de Santiagos, the Portuguese Way in 2015 and the Vila de la Plata and Sanabres Way in 2016. My wife and I have traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Sub-continent. We have two children and three grandchildren. Next year we will be married 50 years.