Ghost Ranch

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in What I am up to | 2 comments


Two weeks ago I took my daughter and her friend for our girls camping trip to Ghost Ranch. My painting class was canceled, so on a wild whim I switched to pottery.

Our teacher was Doug DeLind. His work is primitive, his manner is infinitely patient.



Three masks by Doug.

We used clay from the river, rich red glossy sludge that was lining the bottom of the bed. The pottery we made was fired in this pit, in layers of sticks, donkey dung and sawdust.



Rebecca did some fire dancing to bless our pit. She sang too.


I made three houses with peek-a-boo characters. They have two faces; the one on the back side is sly.


These characters have bodies made of bark.


This face was inspired by Doug. She is a garden goddess.


I call this vase “stones in the river”

IMG_8865This guy was inspired by the conversation around me. I will let you imagine what the content might have been. Let’s just say I was in very interesting company. Doug found his halo and I think it just finished him off perfectly.

Georgia O’Keefe was justifiably inspired by this landscape. It is like a very good cup of coffee: I never, never will tire of this place. It is startlingly gorgeous and delicious every single day.



The moral of this story is that I learned SO much from taking a class by default, one that I never would have chosen on my own. It was amazing working with clay in this primitive way, I felt energized by the newness of the material in my hands. I knew I could not fail, because I fully embraced my beginners mind. It was a rich experience for me.

The girls built their own fire and made their own stories. Remember being 15 and camping with your mom? No? Well, I hope my girl remembers.IMG_8785

If you want to share some of this landscape with me and a fine group, we will be arting it up in Taos in October for a week. Check that out here.


  1. Jill – I loved this blog! Especially the joy you felt at taking a class “by default”. It brought a smile to my face. Thank you!

  2. Love your work! Isn’t clay wonderful! More than any medium it takes me to the place of the creator. Extra special that you used clay from the area you were visiting!

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