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Mana Pottery Studio shares its Sacred Spring Collection

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KLONDYKE, Ariz. – Mana Pottery Studios in Klondyke has been producing some of the nation’s most unique and stunning lines of Southwest art for more than six decades. Every weekend, Friday through May 30, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. the studios will host a special open house and tour to showcase their new spring collection of sacred earthen ware.

Expect a new collection of pottery that depicts the very essence of the Southwest. Multi-colored, hand painted renditions of desert life provide a visual feast for all. New designs include intricate borders and unique colored glazes. Select pieces from the collection are also on display in Denver at the Chicano Humanities Art Council, 8th and Santa Fe streets, through May 2009.

Last summer the studio released a collection entitled, “Spirit of the Desert,” in tribute of its 60th anniversary. The new line was so successful that the studio has created a spring collection that incorporates wildlife, native plants and medicine cactus (peyote) motifs into a variety of functional vessels. These items range in price from $30 for coffee mugs to $800 for large vases that were created specifically to celebrate the life work of founder Immanuel Pardeatan Trujillo, Mana.

Mana Pottery was unofficially founded in 1948 by legendary potter Trujillo. The studio has produced less than 400 pieces annually of one-of-a-kind works of art. Trujillo, cohort and colleague of legendary artist Salvador Dali, is renowned for his studios stunning lines of pottery depicting the rich and varied desert life of the Aravaipa Canyon in Southeastern Arizona. The pottery is also in the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of the American Indian.

Legally incorporated in 1977, when then apprentices Mathew Kent and Anne Zapf joined the studio as artists in training, the studio is paying tribute to Trujillo’s life work by officially passing the crown to Kent and Zapf. “We are entering a new era,” Trujillo said. “Mathew Kent and his wife Anne Zapf are now representing Mana Studios. All I have known, all I have been, is embodied in these two individuals. In honor of their work and patience we are going public with our art.”

The public enthusiasm since last June has prompted the studio to again host a special showcase event. For this collection master potters Trujillo, Kent and Zapf have produced a special line of tile pottery depicting the wildlife and environs of the Aravaipa Canyon, which is itself a legendary eco-preserve located 15 miles north of the studio.

To date Mana Studios has only released small amounts of pottery to the general public. The pottery line, featured in the Smithsonian’s Indian Art Collection was originally commissioned and collected by celebrity pottery aficionados. The pottery is also known and collected by Peyote communities for its use in prayer meetings.

Trujillo has spent more than two decades teaching his unique art form to Kent and Zapf. Much like the internationally acclaimed Lladro Porcelain line from Spain, Trujillo has trained his heirs with meticulous care. “They are now ready to take over the job of passing on this line of beautiful pottery.” Trujillo said.

“Immanuel’s desire has always been for this pottery to be available to the public and accessible to all. As he is aging what we want to avoid is having his life work only available to a select few. He has spent 25 years mentoring and passing on his techniques to me and to artist Anne Zapf. We are taking the bold step forward to ensure that this truly legendary American art form can be available to the public. We are hopeful and excited that the Mana line will survive into the next decade with a new and fresh breed of collector.” Said Kent.

All patrons during the spring open house will receive a 20 percent discount off of all purchases.

Trujillo, Kent and Zapf will be available on weekends to talk to visitors. All orders will include a Certificate of Authenticity signed by all three artists. For more information call (982) 828-3444.