This blog highlights the talents of this years symposium presenters. For more information about attending this years symposium, please see

Tuesday, December 23, 2014



For most of the past decade I’ve made it a priority to attend the Yuma Symposium each year. I am at a point now where it is almost impossible for me not to go. I can’t imagine not traveling to a warm, dry place in the middle of winter to meet up with a few hundred friends to listen to, talk about, and see some fascinating artwork for a few intense days.

The symposium takes place just about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Now coming from the deep forested green and misty coastal plain of east North Carolina what that means for me, an unapologetic westerner at heart (20 years in Texas, 30+ years in Montana with sojourns into Oklahoma and New Mexico) is Space, Light, and Color.

But I’m not just talking about the landscape. At Yuma there is the physical space of the southern Rockies but there is also the space to talk shop, be an artist without justifying it (you know what I mean), play hard, get inspired, and breathe in deep, long-lasting friendships. There is the burnished light of the dry southwestern climate but also a light-ness of spirit, of belonging, and of possibility in new thought & direction. There is the color of the turquoise sky, purple mountains (honestly!), adobe sands, and Hispanic culture but there is also the color of artistic character, material, image, and creativity that infuses one with a spectrum of renewed energies.

Space, light, and color. That’s why it’s a priority for me.

Milk paint samples from an artist’s demo

 Inside Lute’s during the pin swap

 Sunrise over the Colorado 

Sunset during the Sprints

 Dancing on Saturday night
 Winners of the Saw, File, & Solder Sprints.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Max Lehman

Max Lehman Article for Artsy Shark
Originally from Fort Knox Kentucky Max Lehman currently resides in Nambe, New Mexico. Max attended college at Arizona State University in the 1980’s, majoring in Media Arts while also studying Pre-Columbian art history.

Most of his training in ceramics came by practical experience. He apprenticed at the F&R Pottery Studio in Cave Creek north of Phoenix and later went on to work for the Red Horse Clay Company.

Much of my current body of work is based upon the concept of Dystopia*. I intentionally attempt to make my pieces “creepy-cute” this is a direct response to the prevailing principles of Pop Surrealism. I have a tendency to pick and choose my cultural references at will. Exercising unrestrained disregard for tradition or convention gives me the ability to process new ideas rapidly.

Skeletons are a recurring theme in my work. My fascination with skeletons is primarily from exposure to Mexican culture and immersion in the Punk music scene. I do not see skeletons as representations of death. The Mexican folk artist Alfonso Castillo has influenced my approach to art, in imagery, construction and decoration. He is one of the most highly regarded Days of the Dead artists.

My connection with Hispanic culture is due to me being one of the first Anglo artists voted into a Hispanic Art Collective that was based in a downtown barrio in Phoenix Arizona in the 1980s. Movimiento Artistico Del Rio Salado or MARS for short was a foundational period and it was during my time there that I formed my earliest concepts on art formulated out of street culture, Mexican Folk Art, Dia de los Muertos and the concepts of cultural diversity and inclusiveness.

Living in and around Santa Fe for 25 years has created a deep connection to northern New Mexico, its people and the quirkiness of daily life here.

Presently Max is Webmaster at the New Mexico Tourism Department in addition to pursuing his full time art career. This situation provides a unique perspective of moving between the technological to the tactile realm on a daily basis.

* Dystopia: A futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control. Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, make a criticism about a current trend, societal norm, or political system.

  Gidget Goes to Saturn (1988 Space Series) low fired earthenware with acrylic paint
36”h 18”w 12”d

 Templo Azul (1993 Neo Mayan Series) low fired earthenware with acrylic paint
24”h 15”w 12”d
Bubbles (1996 Dogs in Drag Series) low fired earthenware with acrylic paint
32”h 14”w 12”d

   Carmen Miranda (2007 Cha Cha Bunny Series) low fired earthenware with glaze, underglaze and acrylic paint
34”h 16”w 12”d

 Mayan Mobile (2009 Car Series) low fired earthenware with glaze and underglaze
29”h 10”w 15”d
Red Skeleton with Black Birds (2011) low fired earthenware with glaze, underglaze and acrylic paint   27”h 14”w 11”d
Tlalocan, Paradise of the Rain Goddess 
(2011 installation created for the Santa Fe Storefront Windows Project)
ceramic elements low fired earthenware with glaze, underglaze, acrylic paint, wire and neon, other elements painted wood, electric lights and printed fabric.
12’h 16’w 14’d (measurements in feet)
Black Eyed Susan (2013)  low fired earthenware with glaze, underglaze and wire
38”h 16”w 12”d
Juntos Para Siempre (2013 for the Herradura Tequila Barrel Art Project)
ceramic elements low fired earthenware with glaze, underglaze, acrylic paint, and wire, other elements an actual oak tequila barrel (empty) painted wood, and electric lights.
48”h 42”l 28”w

Dawn in the House of Knives (2014) low fired earthenware with glaze, underglaze, paint and wire
62”h 24”w 12”d



POP Gallery
142 Lincoln Ave, Suite 102
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501


Red Lodge Clay Center
123 South Broadway
Red Lodge, Montana 59068


William Havu Gallery
1040 Cherokee Street, Denver, Colorado 80204

Selected Private and Public Collections:
Patrick Doust and Richard North Columbus OH
Sara and David Lieberman Paradise Valley AZ
Sanford M Besser Santa Fe NM
Jim Kolva and Pat Sullivan Spokane WA
Albion Fenderson Phoenix AZ
Marek Wozniak Omaha NE
Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center Tempe AZ
Santa Fe Community College Santa Fe NM

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Laritza Garcia

Hello Yumans!
My second Yuma experience is on the horizon and I am ever so thankful for the community that the symposium provides for emerging and seasoned artist alike. The body of work I will be present is shaped by my understanding of art as a coping mechanism and my long-term affiliation with Youth Art-Reach programs.
Powder Coated jewelry components, bench shot 2014  
Working with youth significantly impacts my visual narrative.  I adapt certain traits and tactics of playful behavior into my design aesthetic such as exploratory construction and intuitive drawing skills that bring elements of delight to the “serious” adult landscape.
Left: Exploration drawing. Ink, spray paint, pastel
Right: Double Drop brooch. Copper, Steel, Sterling Sliver, Powder Coat

For my demo, I will guide symposium participants through an exquisite corpse exercise to collectively assemble wearable objects from mixed media materials using low-tech methods. This method fosters collaboration, spontaneity and thinking with your hands. Can’t wait!
Exquisite Corpse, ECU graduate seminar 
My first teaching position was for the City of Austin’s Totally Cool, Totally Arts program which helps teens to connect to school, cope with difficult situations, and manage stress. This gig opened my eyes to the joys of teaching and to the notion that play is one of the key factors leading to happiness in adulthood. Through my professional experiences, I’ve learned that play helps builds understanding, encourages communication and teaches us how to be good citizens: share, take turns and listen to one another.     

Totally Cool, Totally Art student work. 
I strive to create pieces of adornment that remind us of the lasting impression of childlike behavior and restorative properties of creative thinking.
Brooch Trio & Tangerine necklace: Copper, brass, steel, Sterling Silver, Powder Coat
I currently live In Austin and teach Surface Design, Metals and 3D foundations at Texas State University. Over the past year I’ve also relished the opportunity to collaborate on community enhancement projects with   Culture and Arts Education division. Color Abound!
Dougherty Arts Center Enhancement program: mixed media mandala. 
I look forward to meeting up with new and old friends, please say HELLO.
Until then, HAPPY MAKING!
 More info: