We began brainstorming a project in the spring of 2018 with Stacey Black of Gerlach School. She LOVED the idea of bringing art experiences to her students in this small, rural school. We met the students for the first time in September and immediately began to discuss the special attributes of the Gerlach region. We made a long list, drew images in homemade booklets, and ventured into the backyard of the school: the Black Rock Desert. Thus began our year-long project to learn about clay and make a Totem Sculpture Garden that celebrates Gerlach!

Photos of students, staff, and community members getting creative with clay as their medium.

And then they learned about glazes…. how to apply them and how they change when they’re fired in the kiln.

This spring we created “totems” of all the pieces created through the year creating a beautiful playful entryway sculpture garden for Gerlach School!

One of the recurring features of our visits over the year at Gerlach School was a discussion of the rich prehistory of the Black Rock area. The idea of “megafauna” such as mammoths and saber cats roaming this area captured the imagination of many of the students. Molly had been on an archaeological dig on the Black Rock Playa in the early 90’s and still had the molds of some of the mammoth bones that had been dug out of the playa floor. Master cement craftsperson and artist Ted Demolski of CraftTed.company joined Artemisia Tridentata and collaborated with us to create cement mammoth bones from these molds. Teddy facilitated our design and construction of a “mammoth bone art installation/bench” and the repatriation of some of the mammoth bones back to the Black Rock – ArtTri style!