Artist Spotlight: N.M.R.R., Esq.
Bird Feathers on Paper Clay,
3 1/2″H x 22 1/2″L,
Artist: Joan Embree
About the Artist
Like many other imported Mountainair residents, I had another life — not involved with making art — before I came here. My working years were spent as a journalist on small town newspapers, then as an architectural historian surveying districts and properties in the deep South and nominating them for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
So “artist” is a term I do not apply to myself. I KNOW artists – some are good friends – but I do not qualify by temperament or talent – to be one. Nevertheless, I find joy in the process of making images with watercolor and oil paint, creating things, and sharing in creative projects.
The inspiration for creating this piece N(ew) M(exico) R(oad) R(unner.) Esq., was actually more like friendly harassment. My friend and fellow Clayworks member Kathy Baur challenged me to ditch the usual pots and bowls I seem to make endlessly and try to make a figure. Kathy, of course, is known for her fabulous bird, shaman, and other, other-worldly creatures made in clay, metal, and found objects.
So with a lot of guidance, kibbitzing, and hands-on-help from Kathy, this is my first-ever bird sculpture. It’s a New Mexico roadrunner because ‘Why not?” We all enjoy watching these striking and goofy local birds.
Kathy donated the alabaster base, the copper tubing legs, and helped assembling. Dean Schroeder, another Clayworks pal, donated some roadrunner feathers he found abandoned by their owners.
I’m working on a second roadrunner now. This one will be a take-off on Navajo artist Chandler Begaye’s comic roadrunner Christmas tree ornaments. (I bought mine at Susan’s Christmas Shop in Santa Fe.)