Wanda Coffey, a Bloomfield painter, depicts cowboy scenes in her art.
Wanda Coffey, a Bloomfield painter, depicts cowboy scenes in her art. (Courtesy art)

What: Earthfired Pottery and Friends second annual art show

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: 193 State Highway 574 in La Plata.

FARMINGTON — After the father of a good friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, La Plata resident and artist Cynthia McDowell decided to do something to help out.

McDowell, who hosts art shows in La Plata, is donating a portion of her sales this year to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

"Cancer is just really such a powerful disease these days," McDowell said.

The second annual Earthfired Pottery and Friends Art Show will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at McDowell's Earthfired Pottery Ranch, 193 State Highway 574 in La Plata.

Since her show last year, McDowell has participated in half a dozen wood firings and made slipware pots using flowers, trout and bamboo. She has also been making her own beads to decorate her pots, as well as jewelry and sun catchers.

Each year, McDowell invites other artists who compliment her art to show with her. One this year will be Sarah Newberry, of Taos, a fellow ceramic artist who also participates in wood firing. The two artists met in June during a wood firing session.

For Newberry, firing is one of her favorite parts of ceramic art. She said one of the reason she likes firing is that it takes a community effort.

On Monday and Tuesday, Newberry took part in a 50-hour firing session, along with five other artists. The kiln, which took around eight hours to load, was heated to 2300 degrees. Because of how hot it was, the different artists took turns manning the kiln. A pot takes over a week to fire.

In addition to wood firing, there are also gas and electric kilns. Fewer pots are lost during firing with gas and electric pots. A pot will sometimes burst into shards during the firing process due to air pockets in the clay. During the heating, the air expands, causing the pot to break.

Despite the greater loss caused by wood firing, many ceramic artists still use wood-fired kilns because of the way the flames decorate the pots. Newberry said the fire often forms a natural glaze.

The colors produced also are different when using a wood-fired kiln. Wood-fired pottery has duller, earth tones while gas kilns produce bright colors.

"I like to do both just to change it up," Newberry said.

Dick Bolli will be participating in an art show in La Plata on Saturday.
Dick Bolli will be participating in an art show in La Plata on Saturday. (Courtesy art)

In addition to pottery, the art show will also have metal sculptures created by Blanco resident Dick Bolli.

Bolli takes "found" items such as silverware and hoes to create his metal sculptures. He will also be showing at Feat of Clay Gallery in Aztec starting Friday.

Bolli moved to Farmington in 1972. He worked at a sheet metal company, following his father's footsteps. About four years later, he married and started his own company.

Upon retiring, Bolli began to create his metal sculptures. He is best known for his "Dicky Birds" -- a series of bird sculptures. Some of these sculptures have now found homes in places as far away as Australia.

Sarah Newberry will be traveling to La Plata to show her ceramics.
Sarah Newberry will be traveling to La Plata to show her ceramics. (Courtesy art)

The show will also feature Bloomfield painter Wanda Coffey. Coffey said she has been creating art since she was a young child. She is a member of various art organizations around the Four Corners area, including the Four Corners Plein Air Painters and the Four Corners Art Association. Coffey is intrigued especially by western and cowboy art, though she paints a variety of subjects.

"Challenges in art happen every time one sits down to paint, sculpt or dance or sing," Coffey said in an artist statement. "I think that is what keeps me painting. The excitement of producing something you have created will keep the blood flowing and the heart beating. I work in watercolor, oil, pencil and some pastel work."

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.