In 2006 under the far-sighted leadership of the College of Borrego's Adult Education Program, the Pottery Program was created. After arranging for a large outdoor space on School District grounds the College and its patrons bought and donated the equipment necessary to open a working and teaching pottery studio. Ginger Dunlap-Dietz, a potter from Syracuse, NY was on hand to manage and organize the Pottery from the beginning.
In 2013 the College of Borrego handed the sponsorship of the Pottery over to the Borrego Art Institute. In addition to continuing the on-going programs, in 2014 BAI initiated its first Celebration of Clay and Glass Show. The annual exhibition highlights local artists and introduces the work of talented clay and glass artists from around Southern California.
Over the twelve winter/spring seasons the Pottery Studio has been open, it has grown; new equipment includes a raku kiln, new storage structures, materials, and new workshops. We are very proud of the significant group of people who have discovered the joy of working with clay and have made the studio a special place.
Some have taken what they learned back to their homes in other locales and built their own potteries; some make the Pottery a focus of their seasonal time here in Borrego. Each year the Pottery is able to maintain limited summer hours.
Under the guidance of the Borrego Art Institute, community awareness of the Pottery program is growing. With the assistance of interested donors, the goal this year is to build a new year-round facility for clay as a part of the ARTFARM at BAI.
We expect that the future will bring a year-round presence, new guest artists, more workshops and increased interest in the clay medium and the art of ceramics.
CELEBRATING THE ARTS IN BORREGO SPRINGS, A National Endowment for the Arts funded mural at the Borrego Art Institute
Story of the Community Tiles: Their place in the Borrego Art Institute Mural
The first appearance of the now called Community Tiles was in Expressions in Clay, 2008, the exhibition of clay at Borrego Art Institute in its original location in the Mall. The show included clay work by a number of Borrego artists.
Artists from the newly formed Borrego Pottery were at work hand building and throwing on the potter’s wheel for visitors to see how pottery is made. In addition there was a table on which were large rolled slabs of soft clay into which visitors to the exhibition were invited to choose from an array of natural items like nut shells, stones, plants, branches, fingers, etc. and press them into the clay to make an image.
These slabs were then taken to the Pottery where they cut up into 4” tile shapes. The 75 or so tiles were bisque fired to keep them safe and to be ready to add glaze.
Over the next several years they were joined by tiles made the same way by the artist members at an Art Guild luncheon and at the Pottery’s Annual Holiday Open House by attendees and resident artists. In the the last 10 years members of the Pottery and the community have created more than 200 tiles.
Glazing of the tiles is happening simultaneous with production of feature and narrative relief tiles at the Borrego Art Institute outdoor pottery. They are being glazed at the Pottery to create the border/outside edge of the story panels as well as several individual panels. Two of the finished panels are currently on exhibit at the BAI Summer Show.
These tiles have been waiting a long time to make their presence known and finally have a home in the Borrego Art Institute mural. We have received a $10,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to make the project a reality. The mural, which Celebrates the Arts in Borrego Springs, will be installed on the outside South wall of BAI and unveiled at an opening ceremony scheduled for March, 2019.