Day 6: Elements of the Earth Workshop (Day 2)

Greetings Family and Friends,

Elements of the Earth Workshop:

Poeh Cultural Center for the Arts, Pojoaque, NM.  Arrived at 8:30 this morning and immediately took our pots off the plaster base, called a puki, and start to clean up the botton as well as adding a level base.  After cleaning up the base, we brought the pieces outside to dry in the shade and wind.  While our pieces were drying we were invited on a tour of the Center’s Gallery.  The gallery is really impressive. It covers the cultural history of pueblos from each season of the year.  There is also a short film about the creation of the Poeh Center and future vision according to George Rivera, Governor of the Pojoaque Community.  We also visited the gallery and studio of Roxanne Swentzell.  Her figurative sculptures, primarily clay or cast bronze are very playful and engaging.  Did I mention her gallery is a tower?  Yes, that’s right, a tower.  FYI, my new dream:  to have a studio and gallery in a tower.  It was the coolest gallery/studio setup I’ve ever seen.  We climbed a flight of stairs up to her studio, where she was in the progress of new floor installation piece made of multiple figurative pieces of clay…quite impressive. 

Did I mention my new dream…studio and gallery in a tower…

An Offering to the Earth:

Each day, Cecilia and Kim are nice enough to make and pack lunch for all of us during our workshop.  Before we eat, Clarence makes an offering to the earth, giving thanks.  He takes small portions of each type of food we bring and puts it on a plate.  We follow him outside to a designated spot on the ground.  We stand in silence as Clarence says a prayer and pours the food on the ground.  I wonder what he is saying in his language.  I can’t hear what he’s saying, but I understand and appreciate the process.  Being raised Catholic, I naturally draw a parallel to saying grace before eating a meal–something I miss very much.  For a single moment as a family, we are all siting together, in silence and in prayer, giving thanks for the good things, blessings in our lives and asking for protection to those we love.  Standing there, as Clarence offers the food and says his prayer, my hands seem to naturally fold into one another and for a moment, I am with my family at the dinner table.

The Melon Pot:

We worked on what Clarence referred to as a Melon Pot.  It had a similar shape to the pots done on Day 1, but had an undulating deformation to the body.  Once finished, the form takes on the appearance of a melon.  Cecilia, Kim and I all started on our rendition of the piece.  

San Domingo Pueblo Homemade Bread:

I am going on record.  THIS IS THE BEST BREAD I HAVE EVER TASTED.  Clarence picked up the bread from a bakery this morning from the San Domingo Pueblo.  The baker got up at three o’clock in the morning to start baking.  The bread reminded me of Mexican Sweetbread from my favorite vendor in Houston.  Dad used to get me some when I would come home from being away–one of the many comforts he supplied.  Oh man, I don’t know what was in the bread, but it had similar taste to the type of dough used in my favorite pumpkin empanadas.  We took the half loaf that was left over.  Let me just warn you, that sucker will be gone by tomorrow morning.  Mark my words!

Video of the Day:

Click here to watch our pots being placed in the shade, Clarence working on his Melon Pot, and the infamous bread and Cecilia’s masterpiece of beans and rice.

Pictures of the Day:

Menu of the Day:

San Domingo Pueblo Bread (this goes first because it was the best thing ever!)

Sausage with Beans and Rice

Cherries

Grapes

Chicken Pizza with Spinach, Basil, Feta, Mushrooms and Mozzarella (Kim made it this time. They are very poplular.)

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