museums, Santa Fe, New Mexico, art

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe Readies New Exhibit

Tuesday, October 30 2012 06:49   Museums
The daily lives of the early Spanish settlers in New Mexico were made easier by making metal and mud into tools and objects. Out of fire, iron and clay craftsmen created the items necessary to build their colonial world.

Starting Nov. 17, 2012, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, presents "Metal and Mud"- an iron and pottery exhibit showcasing today's artists. The exhibit runs through April 30, 2013 and is a great opportunity for visitors and locals to see a variety of pieces similar to those used by the early Spanish settlers from several hundred years ago.

metal_and_mudThe Museum of Spanish Colonial Art exhibition premiers to the public at 10 a.m. on Nov. 17 with gallery talks by the artists between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The exhibition, "Metal and Mud," showcases the work of 10 Spanish Market artists working in the media of iron and micaceous clay. Some veterans of many years of the Market and others relative newcomers, each artist brings their individual expertise and interpretation to the material. The result is an exhibition of diverse and exciting new work that challenges us to reassess our views of traditional art.

Iron working was introduced to the Southwest with the Spanish colonization of the Upper Rio Grande Valley. At least two blacksmiths appear to have accompanied Juan de Oñate in 1598, and along with them came tools for making domestic and agricultural items as well as for the production of weapons and armor.

The blacksmith was prominent in the development of the Spanish borderland provinces as iron transformed farming and animal husbandry, hunting and warfare. However, raw material was scarce. Spain imposed heavy restrictions on the production of iron in its colonies in an effort to protect its own iron industry. As a result, many implements were wrought or worked from recycled pieces.

While Spanish settlers undoubtedly relied upon their Native American neighbors to provide decorated pottery for their households, cooking and utilitarian pots were most likely produced at home.

Micaceous clay seems to have been the most popular and available clay based on finds at colonial archaeological sites, and is still found in the hills of northern New Mexico. It is the mica or aluminum silicate in the clay that gives the pottery its unique "shimmering" appearance.

The techniques used for making micaceous pottery were learned from the Pueblo peoples of the Southwest. The pottery was constructed by hand-coiling, scraping, and smoothing. Firing was traditionally done in pits. Vegetal or mineral pigments sometimes adorned the pottery, which was used for carrying water, drinking atole, or cooking beans and stews.

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is located at 750 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, N.M. For more information, visit the Website at .


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