Tempered with Tradition
Tempered with Tradition:
Figurative glass sculpture by Ira Lujan (Taos) and Polychrome pottery by Joseph Cerno, Jr. (Acoma) August 21 - November 22, 2008
Ira Lujan (Taos Pueblo) is making his place in the burgeoning media of glass sculpture. By incorporating everyday Pueblo utilitarian objects, Ira finds freedom of expression through designing and manipulating the extremely hot and malleable glass. Ira used his 2007 Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Fellowship award to design and build a mobile glass blowing unit, which he wants to transport to different locations throughout the United States to promote both the art of glass sculpture and his personal style of art. Although this is a relatively new media to Pueblo people, Ira is determined to provide contemporary interpretations of traditionally based themes through his chosen medium of glass sculpture.
Joseph Cerno, Jr. (Acoma Pueblo) learned his pottery making skills from his well-known parents, Joseph and Barbara Cerno of Acoma Pueblo. Haak’u or Acoma pottery has a long and rich history and is linked to their Mogollon and Mimbres ancestors of southwestern New Mexico. The Cerno family has created some of the largest and finest traditional polychrome ollas in the Pueblo world today. They use natural clay, mineral and vegetal paints and fire their pottery outdoors as their ancestors did. The family has gained a reputation for their large ollas, attention to detail, beautiful high polishes and intricate designs. Joseph is both reviving the tradition of making large polychrome ollas while pushing the plasticity of the clay to extreme limits of creativity!
Both media use extremely high temperatures to accomplish the creative process and Ira and Joseph have become masters of their art! The manipulation of molten glass that is tempered at 2,000° F is an extremely delicate and dangerous process, yet Ira calmly and coolly incorporates his design work in the midst of this intense heat! Traditional pottery firing techniques create a surreal, smoky environment that belies the actual intensity of the fire, which can also reach extremely high temperatures in excess of 1500+° F, yet Joseph unfailingly tends to his pots through this extreme process to achieve the desired outcome of coloration and oxidation while keeping the pot intact.