Posts Tagged With: Pueblo Pottery

Santa Fe and Taos Art Adventures

Santa fe 2013 172 In the summer of 2013, I was fortunate to travel to Santa Fe for a week long workshop with the Crizmac group, which focused upon Pueblo Pottery and Culture. We spent every day learning about various forms of art made in the pueblos, from weaving to pottery. Each day also help opportunities to create art. The group was made up of people in education, and we had a wealth of speakers and artists with which to work. The pottery above is an example of Pueblo Pottery and on our tour we will be delving deeper into the designs, motifs and symbolism of the rich pottery tradition.

Cultural awareness was an important part of the workshop, as was talking with Native American people who live and work in the area. One such person is Dawning Pollen, an artist and teacher from Taos Pueblo. She demonstrated how to work with micaceous clay, common to the area, and had several examples of pieces made form the golden sparkly clay. We all tried our hand at creating with it as well, and set aside our pieces to dry as we listened to Pollen tell stories of her childhood and life. Later in the week, after Pollen had dried our work, we visited her family home in Taos and participated in an outdoor traditional wood firing. Her family was there to help, and we met her mother Bernadette, a former dancer and model for RC Gorman. Her father Robert Shorty is a wonderful artist, and he was gracious enough to show us his sculptures, and works in progress.Santa fe 2013 140 We also visited the Taos Pueblo, and were able to talk with many of the artists creating in their studios. On my trips, featuring this kind of personal connection to artists is very important.

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We also visited the Tower Gallery, home of the sculpture of Roxanne Swentzell. Roxanne creates the most amazing figures, both sensitive and narrative. Her depiction of the creation story with figures is on view at the Poeh Center, next to the gallery, and is a must-see when in the area.

These are but a few of the artists we will encounter on the southwestern trips…and I hope I can introduce you to their beautiful art.





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Pueblo Pottery

Have you ever wondered what the designs on ancient Pueblo Pottery mean, or what rock art images were meant to convey? Join us for our April 2015 Santa Fe region tour, where we will be delving into the why’s and what’s, seeing the pueblos, and meeting contemporary artists…There is a rich story to be told. On my most recent stay in Santa Fe, I researched the Pueblo Pottery traditions, past and present. There is such a wealth of beautiful work being made today, and what is interesting is that many of the designs that were used originally, prehistorically, have been carried down through the generations and appear on contemporary work.

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These pieces are on display at Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery in Santa Fe- a true “educational” retail experience! The helpful and knowledgeable staff explain in detail much of the mystery about ancient designs and motifs. The piece above on the left is very old, the one on the right, contemporary. (Please see the website for details on the artists)

It is fascinating to look at the pottery and see motifs that suggest clouds, rain, mythological beings, animals and natural elements, such as maize. The pottery tells a story through its design, and the mastery of geometric shapes and placement is amazing.

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We will be visiting the gallery on the tours and delving deeper into these works of art…admiring both the past and the present excellence in artistry. Can you detect flowers, kiva steps, turtles, feathers, waves, animals features…? Most of these designs are made with a small thin brush made from yucca plant fibers, and minerals found in the hills, ground and made into colorants. Amazing!

While I was still working as curator at the Tweed Museum , University of Minnesota-Duluth, I had the opportunity to suggest that we purchase several  pieces to enhance the items that were in the collection. Just above, the bowl on the left by John Montoya (Sandia Pueblo), was one item we purchased, and on the right, Marie Chino’s wedding vase (Acoma Pueblo), was another. We also purchased a beautiful Maria Martinez vase now on display in the ceramics exhibition that I curated. If you happen to be in Duluth, do stop in to see all of these pieces displayed in the museum!

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Travel with us in 2015!


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Travel With Us in 2015: Ireland   See for brochures and photos

We are very excited to announce the launching  of “AUTHENTIC TRAVEL AND TOURS” and several upcoming trips for 2015-16.  What makes our tours unique is the emphasis on authenticity, looking deeper and making connections, and attention to detail that creates a tapestry of meaningful, life-enhancing interactions. Led by an artist and scholar, Joan Molloy Slack will bring her years of research and travel experiences to our tour on many levels. Attention is paid to the right balance of activities each day, high quality site visits, and top rated local guides as well as individuals sought out for their special talents. You will meet people on our tours never possible by traveling on your own. Another big advantage is that having guides and interpreters of culture allows for you to learn more, to enjoy hearing art, architecture, and history explained, and adds so much more to understanding what you see.  Finally, it’s FUN! Enjoying new places and experiences with like-minded people creates camaraderie, and often life-long friendships evolve. We guarantee a truly memorable, life-changing experience!

Irish Connections-Past & Present, May 10-21, 2015 (see brochure on separate page or full color brochure at ) ALSO offered in October 2015, which will include the northern coast and Belfast. 

We are also offering a Wild Atlantic Way tour in October as well. Please see details on both october trips on separate pages, and view a printable  pdf version at

             Join us for a unique exploration of enchanting Ireland as we delve into the texture of Irish culture from prehistory to present. We will see the rich and fascinating history in the landscape by visiting stone circles, ring forts, medieval churches, and historical sites. The story of the earliest inhabitants will come alive in these places as we listen to local guides, envisioning the lives, art and beliefs of the people who carved symbols on stone, the Celts who created exquisite jewelry and art, and the early monks, who left their mark on the landscape in monastic settlements that still remain intact, and in exquisite illuminated manuscripts. Woven into the story of the past will be activities with Irish artists, actors, guides and musicians.

In conjunction with this tour, a genealogy component is being offered by Dave Miller. Dave teaches a course on finding your Irish roots, and will be offering his consulting services to those in his class, with actual hands-on time in Dublin to research further. The schedule is planned so that those working with Dave will have time to research with him, and those not will engage in a variety of other tour activities.

 OR contact for a brochure


Castles, Caves and Cuisine    France    2016

This tour will focus upon visiting the world famous caves in central France where people 30,000 years ago created their art-truly a life changing experience! France being what it is, we will also visit castles, artists, and learn some of the fabulous history. We will have the opportunity to sample local wines from a master sommelier at her organic vineyard, explore interesting cuisine, and flow into the pace of French living.

Complete trip details available soon: let us know if you are interested and materials will be sent to you


YOUR GUIDE:    Your tour leader is Joan Molloy Slack, who will guide the tour and interpret the range of fascinating things we will see and experience. She is a teacher and college instructor, a ceramic and fiber artist, and has been organizing and leading tours for 15 years to Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, France, and within the United States. She holds a Master’s Degree in Prehistoric Ceramics and Visual Art, and will bring her knowledge of art history, experience as a museum curator, and her passion for art and history to our daily excursions. As a firm believer in sustainable tourism, she also seeks out the best local guides, from historians to storytellers, so that we may hear and see through their eyes as well.

Contact us at 715-277-4224 or for more information on events

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