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Debra Fritts offers Day of the Dead sculpture workshop

By Debra Fritts

Debra Fritts, known for her powerful narrative sculptural work and loved by students from around the US, will present a two-week ceramic sculpture workshop in San Miguel from October 28 to November 4. The Day of the Dead is the focus of Fritts’s teaching; participants will celebrate the holiday and create personal altars or figurative shrines. We will create additional elements or find Mexican treasures to personalize them and we participate in the festivities.

Fritts will teach her method of construction. Working intuitively, she hand-builds sculptures using thick coils, combining modeling, pinching and coiling. Her method of surface treatment will also be taught. She approaches glazes as the painter she formerly was, using oxides, slips, underglazes and glazes. She adds texture and layer after layer of color.  Her dynamic surface treatments have allowed her to galvanize her work as a painter in three-dimensional form.

She is a studio artist working in Abiquiu, New Mexico and enjoys national recognition for her work through invitational exhibitions, gallery representation, private collections and publications. She has shown in nearly 100 group exhibitions, held at such respected institutions as the American Craft Museum, the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, the Fayette Museum of Art and the Craft Alliance in St. Louis. Her sculpture is in the permanent collection of many private collectors and the Fuller Museum in Massachusetts and was exhibited at the American Museum on Ceramic Art, Pomona, California. Fritts’s work has been favorably reviewed in various art and design publications, including American Craft, Ceramics Monthly and Metropolitan Home.

Each of Fritts’s sculptures tells a story, one that is personal, mysterious and honest. They speak to the viewer in a clear and intimate voice. Her sculptures are fundamentally introverted, inhabiting their own unique reality. Their serene expressions and calm poses suggest a quiet, spiritual awareness, which, hopefully, we share as we observe them.

Fritts’s work can be seen at, and workshop information can be found at San Miguel residents will be given a 20-percent discount. The workshop promises to be a rewarding learning experience and a chance to create a personal memento of the Day of the Dead.

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