Free Pottery-Making Program with Artist in Residence Michael Savage

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Date: September 2, 2014
Contact: Betty Lieurance, 970-529-4608
Contact: Laurel Rematore, 970-529-4445

Potter and Mesa Verde National Park Artist in Residence Michael Savage will offer a free interactive program on Thursday, September 11, 7:30 p.m., at Far View Lodge Library. The subject will be “The Craft behind the Craft,” introducing attendees to the aspects of pottery production that are rarely shown or demonstrated, including clay and slip preparation, paint preparation and manufacture, pottery tool construction, and the design and painting of pottery vessels. Participants will be encouraged to try their hand at grinding and mixing clay, making a yucca paintbrush, and rendering a classic Mesa Verde design with their new paintbrush.

As an artist in residence, Michael plans to investigate design and construction aspects of Ancestral Puebloan pottery through research in the print archives and pottery collection of the park. His work with reproduction pottery has revealed subtle distinctions in the decorative nature of pottery originating from the Mesa Verde area and adjacent areas in southeast Utah, northwest New Mexico, and northeast Arizona. One goal is to identify design elements and design fields on vessels that are unique or distinctive to the ancestral potters of Mesa Verde.

Michael Savage has spent the last three decades as an environmental professional in the reclamation and rehabilitation of disturbed lands in the west. As a botanist
and plant ecologist he has spent significant time in the field, which led to a fascination with the historical aspects of the Colorado Plateau, particularly the Ancestral Puebloans. His interest in pottery began six years ago with a pottery workshop replicating a Pueblo III mug and firing it in an outdoor trench kiln. That interest has grown, and he currently spends his free time in pottery making and experimentation in Windsor, Colorado.

Mesa Verde National Park’s AIR program provides professional artists the opportunity to become part of a long established tradition of artists creating art in our
national parks. The AIR program is managed for the park by the nonprofit Mesa Verde Museum Association. This year’s artists were selected from 65 applicants by a jury of four consisting of a park ranger and three professional artists. Learn more at



Last updated: February 24, 2015

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