postcard from america

I went to Santa Fe after Los Angeles for the International Academy of Ceramics Assembly held there. This assembly is held in a different city each year. In 2010 it was Paris while in 2014 it will be Dublin and 2016 in Barcelona then 2018 in Taipei. Each city hosts the conference in its own style rather than any pre-determined way so each time it is different and delegates ‘go with the flow’ of the region/country.  The conference was principally held in the La Fonda Hotel which, like all buildings in Santa Fe is adobe. The hotel is old, has an American heritage listing and is very grand.

Outside on the street was parked the Airstream – a 30foot, 1969 aluminiummodernist style caravan that for the past 11 years has served as a nomadic pottery (in American this means tableware) gallery on wheels.

The owner – Aleghany Meadows – sees it as an economically viable way to market a variety of potters work and he drives it around the USA to a variety of conferences, craft fairs and other interesting venues. I have read about it at intervals over the years but this was my first acquaintance. Here are some images…

This is The Airstream- parked outside a side entrance to the La Fonda hotel in Santa Fe. A mobile functional ware display venue.

Inside the Airstream.

Inside the Airstream.

Inside the Airstream

Inside the Airstream. Pastel-hued mugs and bowls.

Inside the Airstream. A large, surprisingly light teapot with comfort-focussed handle.

Inside the Airstream. Candelabra, jug, mugs and beakers.

Inside the Airstream. Elegantly simple linear surface decoration.

In Santa Fe is a long street called Canyon Road lined almost exclusively with many dozens of galleries. Some have tourist stuff of a Native American bent – extremely colourful and decorative souvenirs in every medium imaginable. However some have first class work and are worth a look.

Another gallery on Canyon Rd

Garth Clark heading across to examine some old adobe walls that are starting to crumble.

The middle of Canyon Road

Another gallery on Canyon Road

Santa Fe Clay is (as most in America) a private (read ‘for profit’ in  American) business that does the same job as the ASP and other Society  teaching structures around New Zealand. Avra Leodas, is owner and has  been in business there for many years, and it seems to be thriving. She  has several full-time and part-time staff as well as visiting workshop  leaders from all across the USA and occasionally from off-shore.   Santa Fe Clay is located in the Railway Arts Area – no train link  direct to Santa Fe any more just all those old and large railway  buildings which has been turned into an arts area separate from the town  centre activity that is more dedicated to Native American arts. The  Railway Arts area has many private galleries (read ‘for profit’) and  shops selling Indian or South American textiles, hand carved furniture,  artisan jewellery etc and one large, very contemporary public one (read  ‘not for profit,’ in American), where I saw Ai WeiWei’s paint covered  ceramic jars from the ? Dynasty, in addition to photographic  installations, contemporary sculpture, video and animation art and, good  heavens, even a couple of paintings. The area would take at least a  whole day, maybe two, to thoroughly explore.

Santa Fe Clay is an amalgam of many things all of which are  complementary in American terms. The commercial area sells, tools, clay, kilns, books and ready prepared glazes along with a large space for bulk  clays of many types and  glaze ingredients for those preferring the DIY  approach. There is a spacious teaching/working area – with far more  tables and fewer wheels than we’d find in NZ (Paul Scott says he has  never seen a teaching area like the ASP with so many wheels per sq m.!).   Then there’s an exhibition area that can be expanded when necessary  and Avra shows many of the best the USA has to offer on a regular basis,  (there is an eighteen month programme in place) covering every  expression imaginable even to raw clay, large scale installations, by  Walter McConnell, where it will all be shovelled up in the end. So  quality, rather than profit, is the aim here. The exhibition gallery  area is simple but well presented in the sort of spaces one would find  in the home. There are regular exhibitions and she keeps the unsold work in another display area after the exhibition is completed for some months. This  section is busier than the current exhibits but serves as useful references and sells steadily. Also there is a dedicated packing area  for works to be shipped anywhere with every type of packaging imaginable. Finally there is a selling area where regular attendees to the classes  and workshops’ work is offered for sale. This displays everything from  mugs through to objects and it all feels very up to date.   It’s a one-stop-shop for anything you would like to do in clay in Santa Fe.

Work from earlier show on display at Santa fe Clay

On display at Santa fe Clay

On display at Santa Fe Clay

Lemon squeezer on display at Santa fe Clay

Condiment set at Santa Fe Clay

A veryu nice teapot with far too much clutter behind (that could not be moved) at Santa Fe Clay

On display at Santa Fe Clay. Peter Beasecker has sent entries to the Fletcher at intervals.

Chris Gustin

Tom Spleth

Cheryl Ann Thomas

A shelf-ful as one work. Edward Eberle.

Detail – Edward Eberle

Press moulded bowls at Santa fe Clay

Every house in Santa Fe seems to have one of these…sometimes two – one out and one inside

Outside Santa fe Clay – modest outside yet huge inside with gallery space, teaching area, work store, shop area, supplies and packing areas…. it’s huge!

Cups on sale…

A small part of the ready-made glazes for sale at Santa Fe Clay

Tools, batts, even kilns for sale in this area

Books for sale

Members work on display and for sale.

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