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In 2011 and 2012 I traveled with fellow ceramic artist Marko Fields to the village of Mata Ortiz in the Chihuahua state of Mexico. In this small village I met potters working in off-the-grid ways of indigenous potters. They dig their own clay by hand, wash it, and hand build it into exquisite pots. The pieces are hand-burnished and fired outdoors, using metal buckets as kilns. This amazing work has inspired me for years and I was thrilled to meet the artists and see them at work. For information about the area see: www.ortizpots.com

Working with Marko and traveling to Mexico has renewed my interest in ancient pottery and provided new imagery for my own work. Previously, my work was smooth, featureless and smokefired with limited coloration. Now my work has color, carved surfaces, and sculptural complexity. My process has included becoming an avid reader of archaeology blogs and magazines and studying Spanish language at my friends new school: Language Central. (www.languagecentral.us) I hope to travel to Peru in 2015 with LC’s study group. I’m excited to see Machu Picchu and I know it will give me another burst of visual inspiration.

Collaborative work by Laura Drabant and Pamela Belding. Graphic by Pam.

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