Clarence Cruz is Tewa from Ohkay Owingeh, formerly known as San Juan Pueblo, and a graduate of the University of New Mexico, with a BFA and MFA in Art Studio, and a minor in Museum Studies through an Internship at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology.
Clarence's 3 1/2 day workshop, held Mon, July 24 - Thurs, July 27, will focus on hand building by coil method using traditional MIcaceous (Mica) clay to create functional ware. Each student will receive 25 lbs of Mica clay dug from the earth by Clarence Cruz at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Clarence provides a description of the workshop and his process:
As a Traditional potter, we give thanks to Mother Earth for the materials she provides, and to 'Pin Kwiyo' Clay Woman for the clay, which we will create 'Our Children' with her guidance.
When we go to the clay pit, we state our intentions to 'Pin Kwiyo' Clay Woman. “With your respect, 'Pin Kwiyo,' I come before you with prayers, an offering of nourishment and ask for guidance on my journey with the 'Pin' Clay, I’ve come to harvest today.” This is always done before one gathers and takes, no matter what it maybe. When one lays their hands on the clay when gathering at that very moment, “You become the guardian, the Parent of the clay, 'The Children.'” Your journey has begun. Your journey home with 'Pin Kwiyo' is like taking your newborn home from the place she or he was born at. This place becomes home for 'Pin Kwiyo,' she is born through the preparation of washing and cleaning, just like your child is when she or he is born.
Before one starts to build, as a traditional potter we always give a breath of life to 'Pin Kwiyo,' your spirit, by blowing your air onto her each time we grab clay to build. We see the creation process with clay like the growth of your own children, and the physical changes and characteristics that sets us apart from one another. This is seen in the finishing of the pottery one creates, through the sanding, slipping, and polishing. The birth of 'Your Child' comes through the final stage, the firing. Just line your child at birth, through that 'Ring of Fire.'