Hand to Mountain

Business Name: Hand to Mountain
Address: 465 SE Bridgeway Avenue [map]

Contact: handtomountain@gmail.com
Web Site: www.handtomountain.com

Offerings: Hand-built micaceous clay cookware and cups

Under the guidance of master potter Felipe Ortega, I discovered a deep love and respect for micaceous clay. I make hand-coiled cooking vessels and cups from micaceous clay. Each year I return to harvest this clay in New Mexico. My work is one of many iterations of the ever-evolving, centuries-old tradition of pottery making in that region. I strive to make work whose beauty does justice to her wild mountain origins and brings sustenance and vitality to peoples’ homes.

I harvest and clean my own micaceous clay to make my cooking vessels. All of my work is handbuilt, using the coil and scrape technique. Once a piece has dried, I water-scrape it inside and out to even the surface. Next, my pieces are sanded with sandstone, and then sandpaper. They are polished with a micaceous clay slip and burnished with an agate, which gives them their distinctive shine. Each vessel is fired in an electric kiln and then finished with a pit firing. The process marks each pot with unique fire-clouds, so no two vessels will ever look alike.

The pottery I make descends from a long lineage in New Mexico where I learned to approach this clay, following the traditions of my teacher’s Jicarilla Apache ancestors. It is my great honor and privilege to participate in every aspect of making these cooking pots, from gathering the earth, through to pulling them from the fire. These days it is rare to be able trace the origins of most objects we surround ourselves with; and so I find it deeply gratifying to make work that carries the full story how these pots came into existence and brings that to the tables of home cooks all over.