Treasures of Clay - page 7
In fact, if the Pottery Project aims to teach Arizonans of all stripes about their rich ceramic heritage, it more immediately teaches legions of UA students skills in conservation and archaeology.
“I’m really proud of the students. They’re all over the world now. And students come from abroad to do internships here.”
One recent Navajo undergrad, Jae Anderson, a math major, assessed the condition of materials that were to be returned to tribes. Some had been doused with pesticides, particularly fibers and feathers, and the student determined their level of contamination.
“Jae did a whole summer project, and helped us do calibrations of arsenic, mercury, and lead. He’s now working at the Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian for a year before going to graduate school.”
Sonja Issaeva, Administrative Assistant
Caitlin O’Grady, a post-grad Kress Fellow, is assembling an exhibition on regional migration that may go into the museum’s proposed new venue at the Rio Nuevo site in downtown Tucson. She came out to do an internship with Odegaard while she was working toward a master’s degree in art and conservation at NYU, and decided to stay.
“The lab is very exciting,” O’Grady says. “There’s an opportunity for interdisciplinary work.”
And Odegaard’s enthusiasm is so infectious it energizes everyone anywhere near the Pottery Project.
Sonya Issaeva, a Russian native who has a degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, is the lab’s secretary/administrative assistant. She hopes to become a conservator of library materials.
“I was here two years before I ventured into gluing the pots,” she says. But now she’s confident as she bends over the pieces of an ancestral Hopi cooking pot from 1200 A.D. “Whenever the phones don’t ring, I work on the pots.”
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