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Creative Pagosa: Susan Martin-Serra

Photo courtesy Susan Martin-Serra Susan Martin-Serra is one of the Pagosa MAKERS listed in the Pagosa Arts and Culture Project registry. Martin-Serra uses the technique of maiolica, or tin-glazed earthenware painting in her art. It allows her all the subtleties of working in watercolor with the added richness and depth of the glazed clay surface. She works regularly in stoneware and porcelain clays and glazes — firing to midrange temperatures.

Photo courtesy Susan Martin-Serra
Susan Martin-Serra is one of the Pagosa MAKERS listed in the Pagosa Arts and Culture Project registry. Martin-Serra uses the technique of maiolica, or tin-glazed earthenware painting in her art. It allows her all the subtleties of working in watercolor with the added richness and depth of the glazed clay surface. She works regularly in stoneware and porcelain clays and glazes — firing to midrange temperatures.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is building a web-based directory of all the creative people and businesses in the community. This website will make these MAKERS easier to find in online search engines and helps share the wealth of innovative and talented individuals that call our small town home.

This sort of database is called “cultural mapping” and is being done by communities around the country in order to realize and recognize the value of their creative assets.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is establishing the groundwork for continued collaboration and cooperation and promotional efforts of the combined community. The goal of the project is to establish a solid foundation of cultural and creative individuals and businesses, to create a viable plan for promoting these assets and to promote the Pagosa area as a worthy place of residence for creative people, a productive place for creative business ventures and a desirable destination for arts tourism.

At present, the PACP is also planning an event for fall 2013. The event, the MAKERS Expo and Tour, is set for Oct. 12-13.

To register and be listed in the database, go to http://pagosaacp.org/Register.html.

In order to highlight the MAKERS in Pagosa, the PACP will profile its members, giving readers of The PREVIEW a sense of the depth and breadth of the creative community.

This week’s MAKER is Susan Martin-Serra.

Q: Tell us a little about who you are, where you were born, educated, your family, growing up and how you came to be doing your creative work?

SS: I was born in rural Ohio in the early 1950s and, fairly isolated in the country as a child, art became both a source of entertainment and a creative expression.

My greatest inspiration came from my mother, Teresa Martin, a self-taught artist who, at 92 years old, still paints almost daily.  I recall spending many hours with my older sister and mother learning to draw and paint, as well as to work with three-dimensional forms.

Another strong artistic influence in my early life was my paternal grandmother, Veo Jackson Martin, also a self-taught artist.  I received formal art training at California State University, where I focused on the discipline of illustrations and ceramics.

Q: Describe the objects you make or the creative work you do.

SS: I use the technique of maiolica, or tin-glazed earthenware painting.  It allows me all the subtleties of working in watercolor with the added richness and depth of the glazed clay surface.  I work regularly in stoneware and porcelain clays and glazes — firing to midrange temperatures.

Q: What is your favorite tool or material used in making your work? Why?

SS: Clay. It really is a material that I find in being expressive. I had problems with being inspired to work until I started using clay.  Now my ideas are flowing.

Q: Do you have a regular routine or schedule?

SS: When I’m doing projects, I’m generally working six to seven  days a week.  My schedule is predicated by the art that is being produced.  If I have a project on my table, everything will be going on in the studio during this time.  It’s pedal to the metal.

Q: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

SS: Do things from your heart with no expectation of return.

Q: When you’re not making art, what is your favorite thing to do in Pagosa country?

SS: Playing with my ponies!

Q: What are your goals for the coming year?

SS: To position myself for public work.  I would like to enter the realm of public art, and where my work would be visible to people who might not normally visit museums or otherwise seek-out visual art works.  Art in public places cannot only beautify the environment, but also conveys meaning and context that would otherwise be missing from a particular locale.

Q: What is your dream project?

SS: A public art project that is both nature related and educational.

Susan Martin-Serra also owns the Belvedere Ceramic Arts Gallery in Chromo Colorado. Her website is www.Belvedereceramicarts.com.

This story was posted on February 21, 2013.