Fine art

Hands-on artwork

Taos Clay Studio features a pre-Valentine’s Day reception to meet the artists

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Get ready for some fun Friday (Feb. 9) from 4-7 p.m. at Taos Clay Studio’s pre-Valentine’s party. The residents, interns and member clay artists of Taos Clay Studio are focusing on local lovers and Valentine wannabes during their monthlong February exhibit. Refreshments will be served Friday and the evening celebrated with music by local fave Chipper Thompson, so it’s clear there’s gonna be a party goin’ on.

Every month, five artists are featured in a center exhibit in the studio and this month are studio member artists David Canfield, Rachel Conn, Andrew Klotz, Kim Ann Treiber and Margo Wombacher.

Featured artists

Anyone who’s spent any time in Taos over the past couple decades will recognize Kim Ann Treiber’s performing arts celebrity with Kim & The Caballeros. Now though, she says she’s taking a break from the music. She’s been at Taos Clay Studio for about a year, but notes she did some clay back in the day in Tempe at Arizona State University before moving to Taos in 1983.

Treiber is inspired by the natural surroundings of Taos and “primarily indigenous micaceous clay, using my horse’s hair in the pit firing process.” She explained that some of the classic “squiggles” found on traditional Indigenous pottery is actually created with horse hair. “You pull the pot out of the pit when it’s super, super hot, and the heated hair curls and ‘squiggles’ into really beautiful patterns.

“I am honored to be one of the featured artists in February at Taos Clay,” Treiber said in her artist statement. “This past year has been a departure from performing arts and an introspective time for me, with my hands in the earth, co-creating with her, as I get to marvel at what comes from it all … what a thrill! And throwing on the wheel, centering, focusing, relaxing into the moment. I’m so much in the very baby-step stages of this process, but I’m excited to share what I’ve been exploring thus far.”

Well-known about Taos as projects director for Amigos Bravos, Rachel Conn provides hands-on support to New Mexico communities and watershed groups in restoring water quality of Taos County. Working in clay is an extension of her focus on Nature.

“To me pottery is all about touch,” Conn said in her artist statement. “It’s about the feel of clay as it spins on the wheel and then the cool smoothness as I carve the leather-hard pot. Once fired, it’s about the way the pot fills your hand as you lift it to your lips to drink. I live and work in Taos, and in the stolen moments between work and spending time with my family, I make high-fire functional pots for everyday use.”

Andrew Klotz works for the Forest Service in the summer, which he said allows him “to focus on my art in the winter. I prefer atmospheric firings and focus on the process as much as the end result.”

Margo Wombacher said she is retired and pottery is her hobby. “Pottery makes me envision, create, form, re-form, focus. It makes the time stand still. My work is elemental, raw, visceral, sensual, natural and emotional. My anxieties are transformed into something grounded.”

David Canfield also imbues his work with emotion. “Elemental, raw and natural are ways I would like my work to be described,” he writes in his artist statement. “I would rather make something from clay that reflects it’s natural form,than to fight against it, to create a refined and cultured product. It absorbs my anxieties and reflects them back as a mirror.”

New program director

“My Name Is Mudd” is Ashley Gauntt’s artistic nom de plume. Gauntt is the studio’s resident artist and newly appointed program director. Studio owner Teresa Dahl said Gauntt is amazing, responsible for managing the gallery and store, and overseeing all the individual classes and various departments.

In her artist statement, Gauntt says she’s pushing “the envelope of domestic space,” which, she explains further, relates to what people buy because it feels “personal. What influences you is what you surround yourself with.” The same applies to her ceramic production, which reflects her identity at any given time, plus “the complex connections of personal, interpersonal and transpersonal elements and how they influence our sense of being.”

Ceramic Supply Store

This year Taos Clay Studio opened the Ceramic Supply Store and are a distributor of MudTools, Kemper Tools, Coyote Glazes, and NM Clay, along with a variety of other brands of tools ranging from banding wheels to brushes. “Tools that potters want, made by potters,” owner and potter Teresa Dahlin  said.

You can check out the store online through the main “gallery entrance” – they’ve recently updated their stock and pricing, which are now at lower cost. New to the supply store is the 10 percent UNM student discount with ID.

For more information, call (575) 654-2919 or visit taosclay.com.

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