Category Archives: NMPCA Organization

About how we work together as members of the NMPCA

Armstrong Grant 2016 Recipients

Three programs submitted application for funds for the 2016 Armstrong Grant.  The committee of NMPCA members,  Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates, evaluated the applications and submitted recommendations to the NMPCA board, whose vote determines the awards.  All three programs are good investments in New Mexico’s clay community.  Details of each program can be seen below.

Awards for 2016

The board voted to accept Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates’ suggestions, awarding a total of $1500 this year in the following amounts to each of the three applications:
Manzano Mountain Art Council: $750.   To hold a wheel throwing class.  Barbara Campbell also loaned them a wheel that they can use for the next 2 years.
Santa Fe Community College: $500 .  To build a new salt kiln.  This will supplement the amount they have from other sources.
Adelante: $250 .   Materials and tools for Arts and Animals program. This will pay for clay and some tools. Penne has located some glazes to donate to the program.

Daisy and Penne are to be commended for working with the applicants to negotiate awards that would help these worthwhile programs succeed and still allow the NMPCA to stretch their resource to help all three organizations.  In each case, the organizations also had other resources within each local community contributing to their project in addition to the funds solicited from the Armstrong Grant.   At the Santa Fe Community College, other groups are also providing funds towards the kiln project.  The labor for building the kiln will be provided by staff and students.  At the Manzano Mountain Art Council, the community has provided the loan for the property that houses the Community and Art Center. This was an amazing show of support by this lower socioeconomic community. The assistants for the workshop will also be volunteers. Adelante is a very worthwhile program that serves a special needs population that in many cases has very few options for services.

Details of the Projects

  • Santa Fe Community College, School of Art and Design, Ceramics Dept.
    Grant proposal submitted by James Marshall, Program Head
    Request to assist in building a new soda kiln to replace an aging (and soon to be non-functional) soda kiln that is 7 years old. The total cost of the kiln construction is estimated at $11,000. The hard and soft bricks, burners, steel for the sprung arch and stainless steel tube for the chimney are all expensive materials. All labor will be donated by students, faculty and staff. The construction will take place in the summer of 2016. The program also utilizes a Bailey’s gas kiln and 4 electric kilns, but the soda kiln is the most popular kiln and an essential part of the program.
    The other sources for covering the cost of the kiln are the Clay Club donation, Building Renewal and Renovation fund, and SFCC Foundation.Penne Roberts and Daisy Kates visited the SFCC and met with James Marshall. They saw the studio rooms, equipment and the soda kiln, which is on the verge of collapse.  The ceramics program was started in 1999 and has been built up over the course of 16 years. There are approximately 140 students in the program each semester, a large percentage of whom are senior citizens.  Due to financial difficulties and cutbacks at the Community College the department’s yearly budget is now down to approximately $9,000. The Clay Club was started 7-8 years ago and their donation will come from their annual Christmas sales which give 40% of the profits to the program. The Santa Fe Community College Foundation is a separate account within the college that is based on donations.
  • Manzano Mountain Art Council (MMAC), Mountainair
    Grant submitted by Karen Smith, Coordinator, MMAC
    Request for funds to purchase a wheel and hold a 6-week wheel class to be held on Saturdays in September and October. This wheel will then be utilized within the program and for offering future classes and guest artist demonstrations. Members of the community have been requesting a wheel class. There are currently no wheels in the ceramics studio. Other wheels will be loaned from the community and the public school for the purpose of this class. The class will have approximately 10 participants and will be free.Assistants, advertising and additional tools will be provided by MMAC.  With the amazing support of a broad base of community members the MMAC has purchased a historic building in Mountainair which is now the new arts and community center. The MMAC is holding its 20th anniversary of providing community service this year. It serves rural, frontier and land grant communities along the eastern side of the Manzano Mountains. Many families within the region are living at or below the poverty level and children are often raised by single parents or relatives. Because of these socioeconomic factors, the MMAC provides the majority of its programs and events free of charge.
    The MMAC wants to be responsive to the desires of the community and also needs to plan for potential events that will help pay back the community for its loan on the new building. The purchase of a wheel to offer demonstrations by guest artists in the future and the wheel class will fit both of these needs.

    Penne and Daisy visited the program several years ago when they submitted a proposal for the Armstrong Grant. At that time they toured the space they were renting and also other related sites in Mountainair with Tomas Wolff, who has been very active in the organization. The MMAC is now utilizing their newly purchased property. For this proposal Daisy spoke at length with Karen Smith, the current coordinator.

     Adelante Development Center Working At the Wheel  Adelante Development Center, Armstrong Grant


  • Adelante Development Center, Inc., Albuquerque
    Grant submitted by Nancy Pope, VP of Development
    Request for funds to provide clay, glazes and tools for its Arts and Animals program. The program also receives in-kind donations from individual donors and have managed to offer the ceramics program for 10 years with in-house funding. Adelante’s Arts and Animals program is facilitated within a day habilitation setting and is offered full time to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities 5 days a week. There are approximately 48 participants. The program offers arts instruction and incorporates animals in a unique format that promotes creativity as well as exercise. The participants engage in a variety of creative activities as well as learning and caring for animals including rabbits, guinea pigs and birds and also help to train service dogs who will eventually assist people with similar disabilities. Working with clay is considered particularly therapeutic in relieving stress, serving as an outlet for expressing emotions, improving fine motor skills and dexterity, and promoting creative thinking and problem solving.Penne Roberts had visited this program last year when they also applied for the grant. This year Penne spoke on the phone with Nancy Pope as well as the ceramics instructor, Dani Miller. Dani has been teaching at Adelante for 10 years and there are approximately 10-12 participants who utilize the ceramics studio. They have a potter’s wheel and a slab roller and 2 kilns. The students learn all the clay techniques and like all aspects of working with clay. They get to improve their concentration and also improve their motor skills and get good results from their work. They take some of their pieces to Disability Workshops to sell and make gifts and awards for the Governing Board and other guests. They also sell some of their pieces at Adelante.

Read this thank you letter from the Adelante Development Center:  Adelante Thank You


Bill Armstrong Grant: New deadline, March 15

by Daisy Kates

The TurquoiseTrailSchool_StudentPreparesTileForMuralBill Armstrong Grant, named after a late member of the NM Potters and Clay Artists, is an annual grant of up to $1000 that supports ceramic art education. Over the years awards have been given for funding workshop instructors, supplies, equipment, mural projects, etc.

For example, in 2015, the Dixon Elementary school received a grant award for a cultural enrichment, hand’s-on program, “Pueblo Pottery of the Region”, and the Silver City Clay Festival received assistance with staffing for a Jack Troy salt glaze workshop. In 2014 the award paid for a clay drum-making workshop for the q-Staff theatre group in Albuquerque, and in 2013 the grant monies contributed to the fabrication and installation of a tile mural at the Turquoise Trail Charter School and to the purchase of glazes for a high school ceramics program. In the past we have provided funds for a new potters wheel for a non-profit arts organization, workshops for special needs populations and many other worthwhile projects.

All applicants need to have 501(c)3 status or be an educational institution in New Mexico. The grant application process is not complicated and details can be found on the NMPCA website, Click on Programs…Grant. Site visits are made whenever possible to research the proposals and final decisions are made by the Board. A new deadline of March 15 is now in place, and the decision for the award will be made by June 30.

Please let any organizations or schools that you think might benefit from funding related to ceramic art education know about this grant. You can refer them to the NMPCA website for information.

Notes from the Editor:

Daisy Kates and Penne Roberts have served for many years as the Armstrong Grant Committee.  Their role is to evaluate and prioritize the applications, and make recommendations for award to the Board and membership.

To give you an idea of the kind of programs supported by the Armstrong Grant, here is a list of several years of past awards.

The winner of the 2014 Bill Armstrong Grant was the q-Staff Theatre in downtown Albuquerque. They requested $500 for the materials, tools and firings needed to hold a workshop in making clay drums which will were then used in various theatrical performances. The drums were designed in such a way that they can also be used as wind instruments. The participants will be theatre group members as well as associated group members.

There were two awards provided for the 2013 Bill Armstrong Grant. The primary recipient was the Turquoise Trail Charter School (on North 14, south of Santa Fe). An award of $1,000 was given to the school for the fabrication and installation of a mural in an outdoor courtyard titled “Our Natural Environment.”  A secondary award was granted to the Atrisco Heritage Academy High School in the South Valley of Albuquerque. They received $300 to assist with the purchase of glazes for their ceramics program.

3 organizations received awards in 2011  Tarnoff Art Center, Rowe, New Mexico for the purchase of a potter’s wheel.  Off Center Community Arts Project, Albuquerque, New Mexico for a handbuilt clay class.  Manzano Mountain Arts Council, Mountainair, New Mexico for a handbuilding class.

In 2010, no organizations applied for the Armstrong Grant.  Instead, the organization sponsored two attendees to the NCECA Symposium on Critical Ceramics in the fall of 2010.  One student and one adult were chosen from applications for the scholarships.

Grant Recipients were  1) Placitas community mural project entitled “Protect Our Wildlife Corridors” by Pathways for assistance with a large ceramic wildlife mural; 2) McCurdy School Art Department, and School for ceramic art supplies and equipment for their art studio; and 3) Potters’ Guild of Las Cruces for a workshop.

The 2008 Bill Armstrong Grant was awarded to Ghost Ranch for improvements to the ceramic workshop space. This grant was used to create a level flooring surface in the Pot Hollow work area.

The 2007 Bill Armstrong Grant was awarded to The Camino de Paz Farm School. The school was awarded $500 to hold a six-week (once a week) micaceous pottery workshop that was taught by local artist/potter Camilla Trujillo.

Access Art Studio at The Art Center at Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos

Pojoaque Boys and Girls Club for purchase of wheels. NMPCA coordinated purchase, receiving a special price on two new wheels.

NMPCA President’s Letter

The President’s Letter has been a long standing feature of the NMPCA Slip Trail newsletter and serves to keep members informed as to NMPCA activities and requirements.  Here is the latest edition by President Leonard Baca:

Hello fellow potters, artists and connected souls!

2015 Annual Meeting of NMPCAAfter a busy winter, I just got into the studio last month, and look forward to having more time to be creative. Talking to fellow members and following them on facebook, everyone’s schedule is in full swing, with special projects, creating new work and getting ready for summer shows.
Check out the calendar to see what we have coming up this year. If you have been keeping up with the eNews, you know that The Celebration of Clay is August 14 – September 19, so get ready! Gloria Gilmore-House is this year’s coordinator, and Judy Nelson-Moore has graciously offered to be the co-coordinator. Check out the wonderful articles about this event in The Slip Trail! I hope every member will display a piece in this year’s show. I have enjoyed helping out in the last three show, and will continue to support our members.

Last year we did not have a V-camp workshop at Ghost Ranch, and the regulars who attend, (myself included) felt something was missing. Giving back through volunteering is an extremely rewarding experience! Barbara Campbell has set up the V-camp this month from May 15-17. It was a big hit the first week it was posted in the eNews. Check the website for available openings soon, as they are filling up quickly!

Also this year, we’ll be having our fall workshop at Ghost Ranch, September 11-13. Debra Frits will be this year’s presenter, sharing with us her incredible techniques that make her work so unique and special. Participating in the workshops and being with other members is one of the events I especially enjoy each year, and one of the main reasons for becoming a member.

What else would you like to see? I, for one, would like to see other types of social events, to get together to talk and share, one in Santa Fe and another in Albuquerque. If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them. Let’s brainstorm and make something happen!

One of the big changes in The Slip Trail this year is that it has become an online blog. The format is different, but you can still print articles to read and take with you. You can search and view past articles, and the photos just seem to pop out at you! As members, this is your group. We want to know what you’re doing, what gallery shows you attended, and what amazing works you have seen, so please share! Last summer, Sara D’Alessandro had a talk about her sculptural work at CNM. It is amazing to see what she has accomplished, and to witness the changes and inspiration in her work as it has evolved. Please tell us what you have going on, and always be sure to send us your announcements so we can share them with other members.

If you missed last Month’s Clay Olympics, you missed a good time! Casey Pendergast and Andrew McCollom did a great job facilitating this event. I will be posting some photos on the upcoming eNews, as well as on our facebook page, so stay tuned!

Before I close as year has passed by and and on June 6th is the annual meeting. I plan to make some call this week and see if any members would like to join the board. The annual meeting will be in Albuquerque at Business Printing Service, 4316 Silver Ave SE, Time is 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, We will have a full write up on the eNews and post it on facebook.

Leonard Baca does No Hands Throwing at Clay Olympics, 2015, NM Clay
Leonard Baca does No Hands Throwing at Clay Olympics, 2015, NM Clay

Leonard Baca, President


Updated Website

website of the NMPCA at www.nmpotters.orgToday I announce major updates to the website of the NMPCA.  Previously, we had two sites:  the public website at and the membership website at  Now, the two sites are one in address and content.

The background of the website is a combination of an image from the flames of our paper-kiln firing overlaid on a subtle pattern of cracked clay.

The logo is a hand holding a pot.  The rim of the pot is in the shape of Pedernal, the mesa viewed from Ghost Ranch where our organization has been holding workshops for over 35 years.

Website Changes

I’m working on changing the websites so that the public website ( becomes merged with our membership website (

In the process, I found a tool for displaying pdf files that will greatly enhance our enjoyment of the Slip Trail newsletter.  See a sample by clicking here  and click on the link from the NMPCA site or click on the image to go directly to the magazine display.

NMPCA July Slip Trail Magazine Display
Magazine display of the Slip Trail

A little bit of good

Fires everywhere, storms brewing in the Gulf, temperatures soaring in the Southwest…we need rain!

So, I got some pictures from Daisy Kates of the wheel we bought for the Tarnoff Art Center in Pecos/Rowe through the Armstrong Grant.  It is nice to be able to post about something positive.  See the Tarnoff Art Center website and maybe you’ll want to take one of their interesting workshops!