Friday, March 25, 2011

Patty Mara of Patty Mara’s Sacred Heart Café

Patty Mara is one of the many talented artists that make up Indie Artisans. Most of the artists I know put their heart and soul into their work, but none more than Patty. She has been working as an artist since 1971, but she has been creating all of her life. Her pottery journey started out by teaching herself to throw pots in a dorm basement studio. Twenty years later she found her first teacher, and her skills accelerated a hundredfold. I recently asked Patty a few questions about herself and her art. Here is what she said.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?

When I was five, I wanted to be a Majorette. When I was eight, I wanted to be a Gift Wrapper. I still do. Being an Artist wasn't one of my career choices, rather it was just something I was encouraged to do all my life. My mom gave all five of her children big sheets of butcher paper (meat only came wrapped in white paper back then in the fifties), rulers and crayons. We drew lines with the rulers, made shapes and colored them in. High school was purely academic, not a single art class was allowed. It was only during my college years that I explored drawing, painting and pottery classes, but I still earned a degree in anthropology. After graduation, and ever since, I have been a working artist, as potter, painter, illustrator, graphics designer.

What are the tools of your trade?

My pottery tools are sea sponges, buckets, thirty year old wooden ribs, some I've made myself for specific shapes to smooth the inside curve of a bowl, metal trimming wires and burnishing stones (most dear to me). My silk painting brushes are also antiques, my favorite is a sable watercolor brush, size 12, purchased on a break from a bedside vigil with my mother. To this day, long after she crossed over, I smile when I pick up that brush to paint. It was a daring splurge, costing over $25, more than I had ever spent on 'just a paintbrush' before. It has been my faithful companion, eager to absorb the perfect amount of silk dye to make a bold stroke completely across the stretched silk without gaps. She's my mama brush.

What or who inspires you?

River currents, rocks/clay/soil, night sky, clouds, mesa, pinon, juniper, gnarled apple trees in winter, Yixing teapots (from the Sung Dynasty), Georgia O'Keeffe, Terry Tempest Williams, Tibetan monk throat music, Apache songs, Celtic pipers, Gregorian chant, Deva Premal

Are there any particular people or artists who have influenced your art?

DyeDianaDye, MannyBeads, Kay Moates (all spirit infused artists) Paul Klee, Georgia, Terry, all my teachers.

What makes your work unique from other artists working in your medium?

For my pottery, I'm using a traditional mica infused clay, native to New Mexico, in a non-traditional way, by using my wheel to throw pots, instead of hand building with coils. It breaks the rules. I'm making teapots with this mica clay, like the Yixing pots from China which also use a unglazed mica native clay. Nobody's seen anything like them here in my new home. They can't believe I can throw this clay on my wheel.

For my silk painting, I add written words, snippets of poetry or prayers on fields of dyed color. For my chakra banners I bead semiprecious gemstones onto them, and chant the seed tones of each chakra while painting, infusing the images with ancient sacred tones.

Tell us about your family.

I'm married (for over three decades) to a hilarious Scotsman artist, who loves to fish and take photographs. We have two adult children who I embarrass regularly; both are very smart and funny. We have a rescue puppy named Rio, who teaches us new things every day. We live in an adobe home surrounded by an apple and apricot orchard near a tiny village along the Rio Grande in the mountains of northern New Mexico, near Taos.

You can find Patty on the web at these sites:







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