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CLAY IS COMING

Earth ties lives together

Silver City CLAYfest connects history, design and sculpture

by ELVA K. ÖSTERREICH



Looking for a signature celebration for Silver City, Lee Gruber saw connection, an earthy connection. Clay, mud and earth are the common ground of New Mexico’s people and the embodiment of their history, she said.

And so the CLAY festival was born, bring artists, educators, entrepreneurs, families, youth, adventurers, and lifelong learners to the area to explore clay in its many forms as well as its impact on history, the present and the future.

CLAY
Clay artist Zoe Wolfe prepares pieces she hopes will be accepted into the Clay in the Garden juried exhibit to be shown during CLAYfest in Silver City. Wolf has been participating the event since it started and this year will be working with youth to get them into the swing of clay creation. (Photo by Elva K. Österreich)

CLAY 2015, takes place July 27 through Aug. 2, and offers multiday workshops, demonstrations, an international juried exhibition, a lecture series, artist receptions and tours. The CLAYfest Market features claycentric vendors, live music and dancing, outdoor events, youth activities, and the CLAY Gala Fundraiser.

This year’s theme is passed on the Spanish heritage of the area, Gruber said. It ties in Silver City, Bayard and Gila. Gruber, who has been one of the owners of Syzygy Tile for 22 years, makes a living with clay and so has a deep understanding of the ties – from adobe homes, to Mimbres pottery, to present day clay artists – involved in the medium. “Culturally our history with clay is huge,” Gruber said. “The festival is not just where you come to look at pots. It involves artists, builders and archeologists. It’s a really great event.”

The event kicks off with a poker tournament, the chips are made of clay, “because the best chips in the world are made out of clay,” Gruber said. They play Texas holdem for prizes and this is the main fundraiser for the event.

Festival participants include renowned Santa Clara Pueblo ceramic sculptor, Roxanne Swentzell, famed Pennsylvania potter, Jack Troy, and an expert in Ancestral Puebloan archaeology, Dr. Eric Blinman, in addition to many other prominent personalities in the clay world.

“We really try to attract people of note,” Gruber said. “Last year we had over 2,000 people who came.”

Area exhibits tied to the event include “Clay in the Garden,” at the Seedboat Gallery and the art of Roxanne Swentzall at Common Ground.


For information regarding the full list of events and registration, visit www.ClayFestival.com or call 575.538.5560. See the full schedule of the week’s events.



FIBER ARTS

Festival returns to Silver City

Two days of everything fiber and more Thirty juried vendors, 17 special exhibits and 13 classes are featured at The Silver City Fiber Arts Festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 17 and 18 at the Grant County Business and Conference Center, 3031 Hwy 180 East in Silver City. The festival is free and donations are encouraged at the door to help the Southwest Women’s Fiber Arts Collective’s nonprofit fundraising efforts.

TINA
Tina Salmon is one 30 juried vendors to
be displaying their wares during the Silver
City Fiber Arts Festival July 17 and 18 at
the Grand County Business and Conference
Center.

This twoday celebration of all things fiber includes vendors selling a variety of handmade fiber art and fiber art supplies. Hand woven shawls, scarves and more, hand knitted or crocheted garments or accessories, items made of fabric, fiber baskets, quilts, dolls, rag rugs, silk painted items and many more items will be on sale by vendors.

Supplies available for purchase by fiber art enthusiasts from other vendors will include,

fabric, hand dyed yarn and fibers, rug hooking supplies, beads, boat shuttles and weaving supplies, buttons, cotton and spinning tools and much more.

The Silver City Fiber Arts Festival will have Maureen Craig, a certified appraiser of quilted textiles available during the festival for appraisals. There is a fee for the appraisal.

Some of the special exhibits include Colcha embroidery, a very New Mexico traditional technique, beautiful quilt exhibits, Navajo weavings done in Amish quilt designs, a sheep to shawl exhibit that explains how raw wool becomes a garment, silk exhibits, wool hooked rugs, and needlework will be on display to inspire all fiber enthusiasts and create a new appreciation of fiber art for the novice.

Classes and workshops include Colcha embroidery, how to dye with natural plants, button making, needle felting, quilting, and even a mini fashion show.

This will be the third Silver City Fiber Arts Festival. The first year about 1,200 people attended, the second, about 1,600. Festival goers came from the local area as well as from all over New Mexico, Arizona, west Texas, and many other places.

weaver
Demonstrations and classes in weaving
will be ongoing during the Silver City Fiber Arts Festival.

The festival is organized by a committee of members of the Southwest Women’s Fiber Arts Collective with the help of many local community volunteers. The festival is held every two years.

The festival is a celebration of the fiber arts and is a fundraising event for the Southwest Women’s Fiber Arts Collective, a 501c3 nonprofit. The organization provides opportunities for rural women to earn income, provides classes in various fiber arts, and helps educate the public about the many different fiber arts.

They operate The Common Thread, a fiber art gallery of handmade fiber items by members at 107 W. Broadway in downtown, Silver City.




For more information call The Common Thread at 575.538.5733
or go to www.fiberartscollective.org.

 





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