142-Les Monarcas de Barro Present: The Tree of Life

This workshop explores pre-hispanic Mexican and traditional craft Mexican pottery and will be a collective construction experience. Each of the participants will create various miniature pieces that will be added one by one to one to a larger piece based on the design of the pre-hispanic ceramic “Tree of Life." Students will use different manual modeling techniques to make small sculptures that in the end will be combined into a single sculpture.

Special Notes

This workshop is run in partnership with Les Monarcas de Barro and will be taught in English and Spanish. 

Les Monarcas de Barro (The Butterflies of Mud; LMdB) is a project based on the belief that art and ceramics can convene, create space to reflect, develop conscientiousness, organize communities and result in social transformation. This project is a collective effort by Vanesa Cabezas, Colombian Potter, and Kevin Escobar Popular Education Facilitator. They are artists and advocates with strong roots in the immigrant community. Their objective is sharing the generational knowledge of pottery and mastery of traditional techniques in South America; transmitting, honoring, and recognizing these communities continued resistance.

To learn more about this organization please visit them on facebook or instagram @lesmonarcasdebarro

About the Instructor

Kevin Escobar

Kevin Escobar is a queer-POC popular education facilitator from Morris County, New Jersey. He was born in the US of immigrant parents from Honduras and El Savlador, and his family’s unique experience with respect to immigration has shaped his understanding of the world. As a Board Trustee of Wind of the Spirit (WotS), Immigrant Resource Center, he has spent the last two years organizing his immigrant community in Morris County through pandemic, leveraging people power to create legislative change in pursuit of equality and justice for immigrant communities of color, including indigenous populations. Thanks to these legislative advocacy efforts undocumented community members in New Jersey can now get driver’s licenses, work in certified professions like HVAC or welding, and even apply for state established COVID19 stimulus funds for essential workers excluded from federal pandemic relief. He believes in art as a mechanism to develop political consciousness and drive social change. Through the promotion of art and culture, communities can reframe colonial and capital-based understandings of the world around us, and dream for a more just world.

Vanessa Cabezas

I am Vanesa Cabezas, a Colombian woman, proud to believe that art is a tool for social transformation. Passionate about the art, crafts and culture of my Latin American community. I have dedicated my last 6 years to learning, building and recognizing myself in ceramics, working hand in hand with communities in Colombia, including child and adult populations. The community experience has led me to work in the field of teaching art and teaching ceramics.My path with respect to the art of ceramics began at Francisco Jose De Caldas University, Faculty of The Arts ASAB, in Bogota, Colombia. In this academic setting I was first able to develop my talents through instruction, and evaluation. After four years of dedicated study to the art of ceramics, I shifted my focus to the investigation of the processes of ceramics themselves, and their practical uses. This subsequent work was largely based on the perspectives of feminist pottery communities in Colombia. Outside of the realm of academia, I discovered teachers sharing their knowledge openly in private studios, like that of BKLYN Clay; among them are: Studio Sumo Cerámico in Bucaramanga, Colombia, Fire Spirit in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and Soul of the Earth in Cali, Colombia.As the pandemic pushed artists looking to practice and share their art onto platforms like zoom, I was able to continue learning from those openly sharing their techniques. Through online workshops, I was able to learn the processes of Argentine ceramists like those of the “We are Blue Cobalt” collective, and feminist collective “Olleras (Makers of Pots) Ceramics”, and Pablo Ruiz.As I met more artists and built strong relationships, myself and a few other ceramists oversaw the establishment of a ceramics collective to keep growing, developing, and promoting the art of ceramics in Colombia. Through this collective we investigated the ceramics methodologies of the town of Chamba in Tolima, Colombia. To this end we lived with them for a few weeks, interchanging techniques of more traditional pottery methods, and the contemporary styles seen in the Bogota city.If you follow this link you can read some anecdotes about the experience and lessons we lived as a collective within the community of la chamba, specifically the experiences that we shared with the Beatriz, and her family - all traditional pottery makers.


Class Details

March 18 - March 18, 11:00 am - 03:30 pm

Days: Saturday

Tuition: $210

Member Tuition: N/A


Semester: Winter 2023

Level: Adult-All Levels

Instructor: Kevin Escobar | Vanessa Cabezas