Category Archives: Member Activities

Ghost Ranch Peace Mural Update

Submissions for the River of Peace are coming in from all over the world.  We have extended the deadline for these submissions to February 14, 2014.  We wanted to give people more time to get their submissions to us.  We have less than 30 writings received so far and would like to have closer to 100.  The date 02/14/2014 seems like an auspicious date, especially since it is Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love.

So far the nature of the submissions have varied from original thoughts to quotes from other sources, both of which are welcome.  The subjects include peace between nations, races, and cultures, cessation of violence in our workplaces, schools, and communities, caring for the earth and reduction of natural destruction, and  ideas conducive or leading to inner personal peace.

The imagMarionGaffene in this post is a submission from a Dutch woman living in Israel.  She wrote her writing, photographed it on her iphone, and emailed it to me.  So wonderful that we can share this from half-way around the world.  She  learned of the project from a friend in Israel who had heard of the project from Michael Lancaster, one of our NMPCA members.  Here is the text of the message she send accompanying the image for our project:

Last week Morris told me about the river of peace and asked me if I would be willing to write something about peace for your project in Dutch.
What a wonderful project !!
I hope that the little “wave” that I wrote from the heart may contribute to the river.
I  will give you a little bit of background as for you to understand how close your project  is to my heart.  I am an art-teacher in Beir Tuvia high school and retorno a rehab-center of N A, working with kids 15-18 yrs old.   I live in Israel was born and raised in Holland-lived in France a bit–volunteered in Israel- traveled “around” lived in NY city – Philly then moved to Montreal – Canada- moved with 2 little children to Israel !
Now 18 years later (exactly on new-years day ) The harsh reality of my son joining the army has arrived.
This week at the ” swearing in “ceremony for my son at the Western wall in Jerusalem – I got overwhelmed with mixed emotions – sadness and pride – my son being chosen for this special fighters-unit – Feeling sad to  see all those hundreds of boys standing there- holding a weapon, feeling that this is their duty as Israeli boys to protect their country.  Besides some strange patriotic pride also skeptical thoughts occupied me – this is absolutely absurd – what kind of mom am I – did I do something wrong – what can I do to  spread peace – besides here and there some art projects – talking peace  with my students and as a mom – living a peaceful life – being at peace with myself and others – ???
I pray that our eyes will open to this magical planet and still have not lost hope that one day there will be PEACE for all beings on this planet.
May your garden of peace bloom and spread all over. May your peace-river flow peace.  Thank you ! With love

Marion Gaffen Vermeulen
Sent from my iPhone

Workshop with Jody Folwell: Ghost Ranch Workshop was a Smoking Success!

Article by Tomas Wolff, Mountainair, New Mexico about the NMPCA workshop at Ghost Ranch, September 6-8, 2013:   Contemporary Pueblo Pottery with Jody Folwell

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Jody Folwell has been described as an important innovator in pueblo pottery. According to experts “Her revolutionary work of the 1970’s changed the surface of the Santa Clara pottery.”  Her daughters, Susan Folwell and Polly Rose Folwell are also following the family tradition and are considered avant-garde  potters in their own right! (To see some of their current work check out the website: clara.)  Of course, in spite of her fame, she is still a very down to earth woman, who, when she dons her colorful printed design apron looks like the grandmother we always wanted. Her full head of silver hair drawn back from her tan face and soft brown eyes makes for a warm  expressive presence which envelopes us  with love and attention.

It was with no hesitation, then that some thirty clay aficionados (members of NMPCA), showed up at Ghost Ranch last week (September 6-8) to learn something about this fabulous woman, Jody Folwell, and her techniques and philosophy of clay. And most of us learned much more then we expected!

Sure, we learned how to burnish a clay surface by sanding, painting with slip and rubbing for hours with a smooth stone, and how to fire with wood and cow manure, but we also learned how important the process of working with clay determines how truly successful we are.

Here is Judy Nelson- Moore’s take on it:

“I was a recalcitrant student this last weekend, but a glimmer of what Jody was trying to show us started to come through in the middle of the night.  It was not exclusively about how to burnish or how to make perfect little pots or do difficult carving.  It’s how to get into a rhythm with your hands, the materials, the tools and the very air around us.  It’s about making the most perfect thing we are capable of at this time and not accepting anything from ourselves but the best.  It’s about making our own way and putting ourselves into what we make.”

Of course, it helped that this workshop was situated in Pot Hollow at Ghost Ranch, which is probably one of the most beautiful places in New Mexico!  Majestic Kitchen Mesa with its red sandstone base topped by a brilliant white layer of gypsum rose a hundred feet above us. Willows and cottonwoods lined the arroyo next to us casting shadows which cooled and protected us. Under the Pot Hollow studio shed we all buzzed with activity like mud wasps building their nests (they actually use mud coils which they exude from their mouths).

Some of us will admit that besides the beautiful environment and the expertise and knowledge of our wonderful workshop teacher, Jody, we were also there to meet and share our love of clay with other artists in the group. We worked elbow to elbow burnishing, carving and hand building and then firing using a wash tub, wood and cow manure. During meals we all sat around large circular tables in the dining hall and told our stories  of travel to exotic places and creative moments in our lives. The weekend was a truly momentous time filled with interesting activity and interaction.

Judy sums it up well with these words:

“Jody,  thank you for taking the time and effort to teach us.  I hope you will consider the NMPCA to be your friends and that you will continue to share your great wisdom with our recalcitrant selves in hopes we will eventually  get it.  You humble and honor us and we thank you!”

Santa Fe Locals Meeting, April 28, 2012

If you’ve got a yen to eat Frito Pie, talk clay, and see the ceramic facilities at Santa Fe Community College, meet up with other area potters and clay artists at noon Saturday, April 28.

We will meet for a no-host lunch in the cafeteria which has delicious low-priced food ranging from salad to spicy.  Then we will briefly tour the clay classrooms and studios, including a visit to member Adele Devalcourt’s throwing class.

This is the third NMPCA “locals” meeting in response to membership requests for more opportunities to meet with other potters.   The first was held in October in Eldorado and the second in January in Albuquerque. This meeting is being organized by Juanita Dunn and Layne Vickers Smith.  Please e-mail Layne at for more information or if you want a ride.

Volunteer Camp at Ghost Ranch

Friday May 18, 1:00 pm to Sunday, May 20, 3:00 pm

NMPCA Ghost Ranch VCamp, 2008
NMPCA Ghost Ranch Volunteer Camp, 2008

Once again Ghost Ranch has invited us back to spend a fun filled weekend at the ranch cleaning and renovating Pot Hollow.   Now, as I write that, I wonder if that sounds like fun to the people viewing this…cleaning and renovating???  Well, you would be surprised how much fun it really is.  Look at this picture of smiling faces at the 2008 Volunteer camp!

This year we will be re-plastering the fume kiln (AGAIN!), repairing the steps down to the raku pavilion, installing a student totem, cleanup and organization, and many other activities to get Pot Hollow ready for a great program of events over the summer and for our own Fall workshop.  And, once again, we’ll be able to take in the Ghost Ranch’s Bluegrass Festival concert on Saturday night.

This year because of other activities going on continuously at the ranch, space is limited and we cannot meet special accommodation requests.  For this reason, we ask that you plan to attend the entire event and gracefully accept the accommodations that Ghost Ranch is providing free.  We want to keep registrations open for people who can attend the entire event for now.  If we can accommodate partial participation, we will send a message via our email news group in the two weeks prior to the event.   As always, if you want to camp, this relieves the accommodation squeeze.

A donation to cover the cost of meals is gratefully accepted when you check in (suggested $30).

Members only can register easily at  Questions?  email Barbara Campbell, the event coordinator, at

October Slip Trail

Here is the October Slip Trail in a google docs viewer.  This is a convenient way to view the document because you don’t need a pdf reader on your machine.

And here it is as a direct pdf to view in your own browser’s viewer:  Oct2011SlipTrail

This issue features:

  • A Message From Our President
  • Upcoming Armstrong Grant
  • Ghost Ranch Workshop
  • Susan Filley Handouts
  • Renew Your Membership
  • From the Ground Up
  • Summer Clay Class in Mountainair
  • Welcome New Members
  • Getting to Know You
  • Shows and Announcements

Albuquerque Empty Bowls

This year’s Albuquerque Empty Bowls event will be held Sunday, Sept. 25 at Project Share, 1515 Yale SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico

This event, which is held in many cities and towns around the country, aims to reduce hunger.  It is an enchanting event…potters make ceramic bowls, restaurants make wonderful soup, people come and buy a bowl, have some soup, and listen to lovely music.  The cost of the bowl is donated to charities engaged in reducing poverty and hunger.

The sponsoring organization, Project Share, in Albuquerque.  Among their programs are a hot meal program, a food box program, Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program and a clothing bank.

NMPCA Ghost Ranch V-Camp

Here’s a Photo album from the May 20-22 Ghost Ranch volunteer camp:

Ghost Ranch V-Camp 2011

And here is the recipe for the cement that we used on the exterior of the fuming kiln. We put this over the top of the existing paper-clay coat after wetting it down well…it seemed to stick well at least while we are there…I can hardly wait until I can see how it looks after it dries. The recipe comes from Penny Truitt:

2 parts portland cement
2 parts ball clay
4 parts fireclay
2 parts fine sawdust
3 parts vermiculite

mix with water. This will be sticky…we applied with trowels and with our hands.

Tarnoff Art Center, Rowe, Seeks Volunteers

Daisy Kates and Penne Roberts Demonstrate at Tarnoff Art Center

Dear NM potters and clay artists:

We are in need of volunteers to help us with our after-school and summer program with the Pecos Area Youth (middle schoolers).  We teach classes every Tuesday and Thursday to these kids free of charge (after-school),  and in the summer we teach full time M-F for three weeks; this summer starting the week of June 6-10th 2011.  We have 5 large grants pending,  and if we should get more funds,  we will expand this program to during the school day and also we will include the High School. At this time these children have no art or electives at their school; (Middle & High School). We are working in partnership with the local school district,  they bring the kids to the art center and provide them with a snack or lunch,  and we provide their art education…  Please call us is you would like to volunteer.  Our Website is at ;our phone # is 505-757-3502-  or my mobile is 505-919-8888. We also have a FACEBOOK page-  go to facebook and look for Tarnoff Art Center. On both facebook and our website we have photos and videos for you to see our classes and studios.  We are also seeking donations of pottery equipment and tools,  if you know of anyone who has a pottery wheel they don’t want,  can help us install a sink,  help us build a raku kiln, or anything else please send them our way!

Thanks so much for your help!
Laura Tarnoff
Executive Director, Tarnoff Art Center 501c3