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Ancient Culture Through Pottery Workshop at Chimney Rock Aug. 1-3

By Nadia Werby
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Gregory Wood Pots being fire in the outdoor kiln at Gregory Woods’ pottery workshop at Chimney Rock National Monument. An Ancient Culture Through Pottery Workshop will be held at the national monument Aug. 1-3.

Photo courtesy Gregory Wood
Pots being fire in the outdoor kiln at Gregory Woods’ pottery workshop at Chimney Rock National Monument. An Ancient Culture Through Pottery Workshop will be held at the national monument Aug. 1-3.

Experience the timeless legacy of ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) pottery at the Gregory Wood Ancient Culture Through Pottery Workshop at Chimney Rock National Monument on Aug. 1-3.

This workshop is one in a series of unique En Pleine Aire Pottery (open air outdoor pottery) workshops. This informative, quick-paced and fun-filled introductory workshop covers replication of regional ancestral Puebloan black on white pottery.

Participants will hand-form, burnish, yucca-brush-decorate and trench-kiln-fire on site using only traditional methods. Participants will gain an understanding of the culture and the fundamentals of craftsmanship, design and technology that are required in creating and firing ancestral Puebloan pottery.

This is so much more than a pottery-making workshop. The rich archaeological heritage of Chimney Rock National Monument provides an interesting laboratory within which to examine what we know about the past and gives us insights into how people lived, adapted to their surroundings and changed through time. The workshop will culminate with an on-site group trench-kiln-firing, conditions permitting.

The cost for this workshop is $180 and includes instruction (in English and Spanish), materials, firing and a group tour of the monument. There are only a few spaces left, so register now at www.ancientarts.org.

Gregory S. Wood is an art educator and recipient of the 1997-1998 National Park Service Award of Interpretive Excellence. He has worked with clay for 40 years. As a fifth-generation Colorado native, his ongoing work and research with archaeologists, museums and on site in the nation’s Four Corners region have taken on special meaning. He blends his intense interest in archaeology with ceramics, producing “true,” near-flawless pottery replicas that speak for themselves.

A strong commitment to using only traditionally available native materials, tools and techniques has earned him a reputation for archaeological authenticity. He works without the benefits of metal, commercial materials, modern equipment or fuels. His research has led him to remote locations in the American Southwest, Mexico, Central and South America and Puerto Rico, tracing the origins of ancient pottery making in the new world.

Additionally, the following special events will take place this month at Chimney Rock National Monument:

• Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Program: Friday, July 18.

This monthly program begins with a talk at the visitor cabin amphitheater. As darkness descends, guests drive to the High Mesa parking lot, where volunteer astronomers wait with telescopes to provide a closer look at the wonders of the night sky. Each telescope will focus on a different feature and a volunteer will change that focus periodically during the two-hour viewing time. This program is perfect for young families and those with limited mobility. Go to www.chimneyrockco.org for more information.

• Life at Chimney Rock Festival: Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27.

This free, family oriented festival is held in the area of Chimney Rock’s Visitor Cabin from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Step back in time as volunteers and artisans demonstrate ancient tools and crafts. Family activities and interactive demonstrations of the skills of the ancients will include pottery-making, rock art, yucca-pounding, corn-grounding, fiber-spinning, weaving, a night sky demonstration and throwing the hunting spear, known as an atlatl. No reservations required.

Chimney Rock National Monument is located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160, then 3 miles south on Colo. 151. Visitors are encouraged to make reservations prior to the event date. Special events can be reserved at www.chimneyrockco.org or please call (877) 444-6777. Walk-ins are welcome on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest.

This story was posted on July 23, 2014.