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Entries to NM Potters & Clay Artists Show


2017 Celebration of Clay: Light and Shadow

at the Galería Arriba at the Abiquiu Inn

July 1, 2017 – August 25, 2017

Opening Reception, Saturday, July 1, 2017, 4-6 pm

Second Reception, Friday, August 4, 2017, 4-6 pm


Cirrelda Snider-Bryan #1 Title: “Untitled” Size: 8 x 6.5 inches

Price: $140 Light and Shadow: Thumb prints joining slab swatches catch light and create shadow.



Cirrelda Snider-Bryan #2 Title: “Morning Glory” Size: 5.75 x 5.75 inches

Price: $75 Light and Shadow: Textured tile catches light, shows shadow of this morning-blooming flower. © 2017 by Cirrelda Snider-Bryan


Statement: Cone 5-fired Ochre clay and Duncan underglaze. Texture, slab, press-tiles, leftover pieces from tile-making, drawing, commercial glazes, oxides, illustration – these elements form backbone of my process with clay, continuous since my first clay class at Philbrook Art Center in Tulsa at age 10. Documenting everyday relationships continues to inform my process – whether in the yard, on the road, on the horizon.




The Long Road East



The Ditch Road That Swings Back Toward the Sandias
And That Inspires Many A Thought About Caring For My Roots

poems in honor of
my parents
and in honor of my journey without them

©1993 Cirrelda Claire Snider-Bryan

sky bright
autumn day

high leaves
mark the way

I walk
on the road

prayer ode
from my home

steps rhyme
with this song

think time
and right now


Morning Walk on Ditch

I had been following this unknown configuration in the sand. It was a wide little swath – with knicks evenly spaced on both sides. Was it a snake ? was my first question.
The track came out into the middle of the road and doubled back.
It was a very intricate track.

I kept on walking. (Plodding a better word cause I was still sleepy and lost in thought.)
But had the thought – “There’s a story in that -. Was there a fight? Why did the intricate track double back?

So, I turn around … find it again … follow it …
Does it stop at that paw print – ?
No, it continues on down the
I see
a crawdad!

Who notices me, too, & stops.
Then starts up again.
Slowly, intricately, pulling that
body, that armor, along.
Gently texturing that sand
like a wonderful border on a clay pot.

Heading for the weeds –
(the protection for the day or to begin hibernation?)

I turn around to continue my walk.

There back in the middle of the road is another guy – but his legs are up in the air.
He’s helpless, legs trying to grasp something to turn him over.
My shoe tries to do that – and I do get him over. But he’s extremely muddy, caked with sandy mud.

& instantly he begins

to go in circles,

around & around & around.

I wonder, What’s wrong? Maybe he can’t see because he’s all covered up with wet sand.

Well, the minutes tick on and it is a work day. I continue my plod. Leaving him, (hoping he’ll find
his way off the road) other thoughts come into my mind after I wonder at the slowness of their flight.
Kinda dangerous.
They’re well-suited for their slowness, I guess, in that heavy armour.

After my double-back, on my way home to get ready for work, I come upon the place in the road again.
The “caked” one is STILL there … his track all jumbled … he’s still been going around and around.

I stand there wondering. ? Should I throw him back in the ditch, let him get washed off, then he’ll come
back out on his own to continue his journey?

Do I wipe it off with my hand ?

Or would I be interfering ? Or will that mud stay on all day?

Will I, won’t I?

OK – grab some dry loose grass – make a brush in my hand – start to brush it off. It comes off easily.
THERE are his eyes ! – little black glassy balls.
He protests, just like my young niece when she’s getting the tangles combed out of her hair.

I can go.
I’m on my way.
Maybe he’ll not ger run over now.
“You’d better get off this road!” I say out loud to this boy (or girl) crawdad.

Walking on … other thoughts on my mind.
Me walking on my walk … my weekly double-backs.

Later I hear the sound of a vehicle coming from behind. Coming up close.
Panic. Is he off the road yet ?
Panic and help in the palms of my feet stretch, race ! back along the road toward him.
“Get off!” Those feet push him off.

Do we get helped along, too ?
Spirits unknown to us – once in a blue moon deciding to stoop down and brush us off ?
Someone once said to me that it could be our lives are like water striders on the ditch surface.
We’re not really aware of that whole other reality going on above us on the bank. Just only every once in a while we get this glimmer of a movement that doesn’t seem normal. And many times we just dismiss it as nothing. Yes there is that whole other big beautiful world going on, with being stopping to admire us or eat us. And to us it may just seem like a gray cloud, a chill wind, or an uncomfortable feeling of being shaken up., that amazingly leaves you feeling clearer. For some reason.


Vistazo al Sur

Vistazo al Sur

This got installed!
Sunday the 22nd of December 2013

Still to come – grouting.

[see September 2012 post for beginnings of this tile piece]


log: other end of summer

Aug 29, 2013
Tonite …
-a swallow dipped and curved over the same half block, movements echoing the shape of the orange cloud tinged by the sunset.
– a tall dog waded ankle deep in an emptying ditch
– on the surface of the shallow water, bubbles rose in concentric circles. Chunky 5 inch crawdad swam, visible!
– tiniest skimmers – water striders?
– each steep muddy bank revealed rows of crawdad holes

A lot has happened in 3 and a half months here in the mid Rio Grande valley. Where we as a family are “perched,” less than a mile from the east shore, we are first to see the river and ditch water coming into the 15-20 miles that is Albuquerque when we take our walks.

June saw river levels stretch from shore to shore. On walks past-sunset approaching darkness, I saw my first muskrat swimming faster than my walking, skinny tail, husky body, nose and eyes above water.
Another nite a coyote stopped and stared at us 200 feet away and my dog wanted to join him.
Then, there was the dusk when another nose and eyes swam from shore out into the river, and then slapped the water with its tail – first beaver seen in the wild for me.
In that same month of June, a Kingfisher was on a wire above the ditch, another first.

It was right after the beaver sighting that the months-promised shut-off of the river happened. July 1 was the promised date for not supplementing the flow to the river, in turn to the ditch system. Out of Cochiti Dam, no extra water would be released. I walked most days that first week, to observe how low the river and the ditches got and all the changes. Of course the actual Rio Grande State Park land along the Rio was officially closed – restricting access as in so many recent years due to the extreme dryness of the riverside forest, so I was breaking the law by going over there.

I, like many people living in New Mexico, carried in the beginning of the summer a burden of dread because of the dryness. I had many plants in my yard die or struggle or not come back (see previous post). Much of my professional life was engaged with this reality – I work with a team of families doing The Learning Garden, was preparing for drought murals in the Art Adventures Camp and getting ready to teach Nature Detectives Camp for K-2nd graders. I was reading colleagues’ writings detailing water politics and speculating outcomes. I was obsessed with the thought of extreme water-rationing. Reports abounded of wild animals traveling to the river corridor – at lease once a week a story of bears in neighborhoods.

Our 8th meeting of the Learning Garden first week of July had us planting our first plants there – a flat of Maximillian Sunflowers – after laying down soaker hoses. We heaped on 2 bales of straw for mulch. The next day the city had its first rain shower in 7 months that actually made puddles. At the end of July gleeful meteorologists were reporting a record-breaking rainfall for July of 2.7 inches.

Trips to the river (the forest and bosque travel bans lifted) provided a changed stream bed almost every visit. At one visit, red mud lined the bar and bank – we collected the top inch of clay – and predicted it was from the Jemez. After bigger rains, there was evidence of river level rising 2 feet.

We had experienced a miracle. Our monsoon season came early and stayed with us and the plants and soil and 2 and 4 leggeds sensed relief.

Now, at the end of August, we are back to the dry cycle, with more weeds since the wet summer of 2006. And the water levels, as reported in first paragraph, are the lowest yet.

new cactus frond growth in mid July, showing fleshy spines

new cactus frond growth in mid July, showing fleshy spines


mid-may log: glowing granite, gnat swarm, swift ditch water

Sun straight in my face as I set out to our ditch this eve with Mag the dog. On the asphalt, many grey inch-long grasshoppers jumped away from my steps. Mid-May and they are that big, I noted. Approaching the ditch, could see the high water from 20 feet back, and Mag entered to wade on the edge.

Soft dirt of the ditch road is deep. Duck tracks are all around. Our Precambrian uplift towards the east – the Sandia Mountains – start to glow red – the sun has set. The gnats above my head are moving with me. My dog chooses the way over to the bigger Clear Ditch and I follow her. After her I step over the fence and onto the trail where I know animals are starting to move in the cover of dusk. I urge Mag to stay with me as she nuzzles the burrows. The gnats in their hundreds are still above me.

Sounds like children, but it’s geese honking, taking off from the flooded field. We pad over the wooden bridge, and I follow Mag down the bank. I fear the water is too deep for her – but the edge was shallow. It’s too dark to continue over to the river, so we head back. Happy to see a few bats dipping above my path.

The light is brightest in the southwest – the call of that wild territory. Through the trees on the western horizon the three planets shine. We in the valley are blessed with spring run-off.

light to the southwest

light to the southwest


Peter Warshall

by Peter Warshall

by Peter Warshall

Did you ever read Whole Earth Catalog and its sister publication Co-Evolution Quarterly in the 70’s and 80’s? One of its writers and founders, Peter Warshall, died yesterday morning. I got to meet him and connect with him at an Anasazi Fields Winery Poetry Reading – he was living in Tuscon, AZ then and came over for I think Gene Frumkin’s memorial service, and he has been working in NM with Bioneers and that publication Green Fire – doing a thing called “Dreaming New Mexico.” He was quite the ecology thinker and writer. I am glad I got to get a sense of what a neat person he was, in person. There’s a book of his I want to find – Septic Tank Practices – and another piece of his, Thinking Like a Watershed, demonstrates his thinking.

Link is to a talk he gave — Yup, he’s a poet and pragmatist, too.
Light and beauty — by Stewart Brand (about Warshall’s talk)

“The naturalist’s task,” Warshall began, “is to observe without human-centered thoughts and human-centered agendas, to observe with a Gaian perspective and with the perspective of the organisms you’re watching. The naturalist considers all species in space/time as equally beautiful.” There’s a connection between art and science—between the poetic organization of thought and the pragmatic organization of thought. Light operates at a distance. That inspires anticipation, which becomes yearning, which becomes desire, which becomes hope, which generates transcendence. When an image becomes transcendent for you, it becomes part of how you perceive. “The Sun is the initiator of all sugars.”

Starting 250 million years ago, life rebelled and began generating its own light. There are 40 different kinds of bioluminescence, used for mate attraction, for baiting prey, for deceit. “Danger and beauty always go together. Deceit—not truth—is beauty. A term some art critics use is ‘abject beauty.’” Humans began the second light rebellion by harnessing fire a million years ago. Then came electric lights in the 1880s, and we transformed the light regime and hence behavior of many species. Artists like James Turrell shifted art from reflected light to emitted light, and that is increasingly the norm as we spend our days with screens radiating information into our eyes.

Our eyes are pockets of ocean that let us perceive only a portion of the Sun’s spectrum of light. Bees, with their crystal eyes, see in the ultraviolet. Snakes perceive infrared, and so do some insects that can detect the heat of a forest fire from 40 miles away.

Bowerbird males create elaborate art galleries, even devising forced perspective, to impress females. Young male bowerbirds watch the process for four years to learn the art. Throughout nature, watch for bold patterns of white, black, and red, which usually signal danger.

Every day there is a brief time without danger. At twilight—as daylight shifts to night—all life pauses. “That moment has a contemplative beauty that we cherish. It is a moment of Gaian aesthetic.”

Warshall’s talk, and his life, have been a convergence of art and science. Asked about how scientists could learn more about art, Warshall suggested they go to an art class and learn how to draw. As for how artists can learn more of science, he had two words:

“Outdoors. Look.”
— by Stewart Brand

Peter Warshall explains the purpose behind the New Mexico Dreaming project.

Photograph from TEDxABQ 2011 (an independently organized TED event) at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
 Photograph Copyright © 2011 Peter Norby.

Peter Warshall explains the purpose behind the New Mexico Dreaming project.

Photograph from TEDxABQ 2011 (an independently organized TED event) at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photograph Copyright © 2011 Peter Norby .


the tilt to the north again

The grey clouds in the west
seen through grey branches, trunks.
Unzipping the jacket, unbuttoning the sweater.
The new slant of light, the breeze.

Now, where are the colored eggs?

Springtime along the Rio Grande looking east toward Sandias ©2010ccsniderbryan

Springtime along the Rio Grande looking east toward Sandias ©2010ccsniderbryan

clay & log posts

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