Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter Reception Planned for Dec. 1

FOR RELEASE: Nov. 23, 2011
The University of New Mexico at Gallup will host a winter reception with a special guest on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m. in Gurley Hall.

After a welcome by Sylvia Andrew, executive director, hot apple cider and hot chocolate will be served while harpist Barbra Telynor provides holiday music. Following the music, children of all ages are invited to visit with Santa Claus. Mrs. Claus will also be on hand to pass out gift bags with some holiday treats.

For more information, contact Linda Thornton at 863-7565.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ancient Ceramics Club Explores Traditions

In ancient times, artists and craftsmen generally provided their own tools and materials. They mixed pigment, made brushes, and dug for clay.

Ceramics artist Elroy Natachu of Zuni believes part of his mission as president of the Ancient Ceramics Club at the University of New Mexico at Gallup is to help his club members reconnect with the traditions of the arts. And where better to start in this part of the world than with the Puebloan culture?

The members of the club represent a cross-section of the traditions found in Gallup – Puebloan, Navajo, Hispanic--all peoples are welcome. But for the rest of this school year, they will join Natachu as he orchestrates a curriculum-driven program to help them understand Puebloan art.

The group starts this Saturday with a field trip to Ashiwi Awan Museum in Zuni, where they will listen to Curtis Quam, who will tell the Zuni migration story to illustrate how all Puebloans were connected, and how artists shared techniques. They will also watch some historic black and white videos showing women potters from the early 20th century at work.  The students will then go on to the gallery, for a look at recovered pottery.

From noon to 1 p.m., the students will proceed to Natachu’s house for a traditional home-style meal of stews and enchiladas. In the afternoon, the club members will accompany Natachu to a place where Zuni potters have dug their own clay for centuries. After offerings and prayers to Mother Earth (these will be conducted by and for Zunis only), the group will proceed to dig clay so they can try their hand at creating pottery in the Zuni style.

“We are paying respect for taking her flesh,” Natachu explained of the prayers and offerings. “We’re hoping she will give clay in return. If we don’t do this, she’ll give you rocks and not clay.” The Zuni believe that the earth is a living, breathing thing, he noted, adding, “That’s why it’s important not to waste it.”

Among the varying kinds of clay to be found in Zuni mines is kaolin. Kaolin is used to create slips, or a liquid clay suspension of mineral pigments. The slips can be reddish, off-white to brown, white or black. Slips are applied on the pottery as a wash, creating large patterns or swaths of color. In many cases, the Zuni apply the slips with a yucca brush – narrow yucca leaves chewed so the fibers are loosened. Clay used in Puebloan pottery is to be found throughout the Southwest, with Zuni potters sometimes traveling as far as Grand Canyon for the reds and yellow ochres found in hematites (iron oxides).

The black paint used in Zuni pottery, by the way, comes from wild spinach (Cleome serrulata Pursh) – not to be found this time of year, but an important plant for the Zuni potter to know. The process of creating the black paint is an arduous one and can take an entire day. The plant is gathered and stuck in a pot and boiled with water. Once a thick black syrup forms, the mixture is strained, then cooked for another couple of hours until it’s like molasses. The syrup is poured into little brick molds which are then put in a pot to dry. Water is added whenever the potter wants to use the dried blocks of paint.

“It’s fun to go back and learn these technical processes, such as the early brushes and making the paint, and using gourds for scrapers, and to think that with these simple items people created beautiful pieces of artwork,” Natachu said.

Natachu, who is 21 and has been studying at UNM-G for three years, was taught these techniques by family members. He lists painters, fetish carvers, potters and a seamstress among his relatives. They have inspired him to also pursue a career in art as a high school art teacher. He has training in medical records and as an administrative assistant from UNM-G, but says his love of art has inspired him to want to inspire others.

“I’ve found the older generation is more committed to appreciating this art than the young generation,” Natachu says as his reason for wanting to teach his peers about Puebloan pottery in particular and artistic traditions in general.

After their field trip on Saturday, the group will turn their interest to the work of other Puebloan artists. They will be inviting artists from Laguna, Isleta, and perhaps Hopi to give demonstrations in the ceramics lab, and to talk about mineral techniques, and the culture and philosophy of their traditions. In years to come, the club will decide about studying traditions farther afield – perhaps those of China, Europe, Mesopotamia or the Aztecs.

To raise money to fund their activities, the club will host a bake sale and ring toss with prizes on Tuesday, Nov. 22, all day in Gurley Hall. Among the prizes will be a turkey basket, which will include  a turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving; other prizes will be some etchware and trinkets made by Natachu.

For more information on the Ancient Ceramics Club or the sale on Tuesday, contact

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Student Senate, TRiO Gathering Donations for Soldier Care

FOR RELEASE -- Nov. 15, 2011
The University of New Mexico at Gallup Student Senate and TRiO program are gathering donated items for soldier appreciation care packages.

All items donated for Operation Care should be placed in the collection bins in Zollinger Library, TRiO Lab (Gurley Hall B215) and at the Information Desk in Gurley Hall. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 2. Packages will be created on Dec. 5

Some of the items that are being sought: magazines, playing cards, movies, holiday items (decorations, blank greeting cards, etc.), deodorant, soap, individual packaged wet wipes, toothbrushes, tooth paste, candy, jerky, used but clean small stuffed animals, sunscreen, combs, socks, foot care products (insoles, foot powder), balloons for water fights, crossword puzzles/Sudoku, ramen or cup of noodles.

All items should be sealed. Anything scented should be packaged separately so as not to contaminate food items with fragrance.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Student Orientation Dates for Spring 2012

New Student Orientation Dates for Spring 2012
New Student Orientation is for all new/transfer students and those who missed NSO the previous semesters.

Gallup Campus:
Wed., Nov. 30, 1-3:30 p.m., Gurley Hall 1124. Presenter, P. Sayers (Ext. 7746)
Wed., Dec. 7, 1-3:30 p.m., Gurley Hall 1124. Presenter, E. Crank (Ext. 7640)
Sat., Dec. 10, 9-11:30 a.m., Calvin Hall 248. Presenter, D.L. Stiger (Ext. 7607)
Thur., Dec. 15, 1-3:30 p.m., Gurley Hall 1124. Presenter, D.L. Stiger (Ext. 7607)
Sat., Jan. 7, 9-11:30 a.m., Calvin Hall 248. Presenter, D.L. Stiger (Ext. 7607)
Tues., Jan. 17, 1-3:30 p.m. Gurley Hall 1124. Presenter, D.L. Stiger (Ext. 2706)
Sign up in person at the Student Services and Technology Center (SSTC 252) or with your academic advisor or by phone at (505)863-7706 or at extension above.

Zuni Campus
Wed., Jan. 11, 1-3:30 p.m. Presenter: Laura Leekela
Sing up in person at the Zuni Campus or phone with Laura Leekela, (505)782-6020, or Monica Wyaco, (505)782-6010.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Johnson Foundation Scholarships Awarded

FOR RELEASE: November 10, 2011
Awards from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation have been made to Business Technology students enrolled in the certificate or associate’s degree program at UNM-Gallup. The awards, totaling $10,000 for the fall, are made in support of the Rural Entrepreneur Institute of UNMG.

The awardees are Marshall Arviso, Kyle T. Carlson, Tawny Endito, Magdalena Garcia, Genevieve Lee, Shaina L. Roanhorse, Tiffany Toledo and Fenessa Dayish.

JSF, of West Palm Beach, has been supporting the REI at UNM-Gallup for the last two years. The foundation requires that the $20,000 award be split in half between fall and spring semesters. A selection committee was formed and the eight recipients were chosen from a field of 18 applicants.

The funds will be used for tuition, books, school supplies, transportation and other needs. The awardees must maintain a 2.0 grade point average to remain eligible for the scholarship.

“This is just the beginning of what could be long-term scholarship support from Johnson,” said Al Henderson, a UNM-Gallup Business Technology lecturer and the coordinator of the Rural Entrepreneur Institute. “Their requirement is that students be committed and dedicated to business professions or careers, with the long-term goal of being business owners.”

UNM-Gallup is required to track the students during the course of their study and after they graduate.

Those interested in submitting applications can do so once the announcement of the Spring 2012 scholarship is made.

For more information, contact Henderson at 863-7634, or