By Angela Romeo

Artists seem to find each other. Thomas and Amara Alban grew up in Savannah Georgia. They began their artistic collaboration in 1998. In 2000 that collaboration brought them to the High Desert and the medium of clay.

California has a rich history in the ceramics and pottery milieu. For example, California artists had a great impact on the arts and crafts movement; over time the larger operations that grew out of that movement have closed or been absorbed by larger corporations. But studio pottery and studio ceramics continue the tradition of California Clay.

MazAmar Art Pottery walks in those artistic footsteps. These footsteps, however, bring a different aesthetic to the ceramic genre. “While we take pride in the true functionality of our work, we do tend to stray from the ordinary. Being largely self-taught in the medium of clay, old-school concepts don’t necessarily influence our ideas on form and function,” noted Amara. Looking at their work one sees the impact of the desert on their work.

Thomas and Amara have taken the desert forms and colors into their work. . “The colors, flavors, personalities, all around — animal, vegetable, mineral, are so rich and rife with their own unique contributions to inspire, we would have to live in a bubble for our work to not be positively influenced,” Amara continued.

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The work has an organic fluidity to it. The Albans’ work feels like it belongs to the earth from which it came. The colors are crisp yet muted. In the hands of another the work could be seen as dated. But no, here the sense of “seen it before” is nonexistent.

MazAmar Studios will be part of the upcoming Highway 62 Artist Open Studio Tour. The tour covers two weekends in October, October 14 -15 and October 21 – 22. 2017.

“We jumped on board the Studio Tours with the inaugural tour in 2002. We love being a part. We’ve come a long way since that first Tour at our home in Rimrock. We have visitors from around the world and these visitors have become part of our everyday scene. Having a storefront on Mane Street in Pioneertown is never dull! But the Open Studio Tour brings a special brand of visitor,” said Amara.

Noted Thomas, “These visitors aren’t surprised that they stumbled across us in this sleepy western movie set ‘town.’ They come specifically to meet us, to see what fun ideas we’ve been playing with and to ask relevant questions about our process. It’s just a deeper exchange. Many are returning visitors who come year after year to see and collect our work. It’s really fun giving the studio a good cleaning and opening it all the way up for folks to stroll through. Too often we are too busy to show our visitors around and they’re restricted to the showroom. This is the opportunity to see where and how we create.”

“The Hwy 62 Studio Tours continues to improve every year. We are always amazed at how well the whole production is run, usually by a new staff of volunteers each year. It’s something we always feel fortunate to be a part of,” said the Albans.

MazAmar Studio creates work that exemplifies tradition and contemporary. The Albans’ unique and fresh approach to the art form of clay proves that California pottery and ceramics have a long creative life ahead.

For more information about Thomas and Amara Alban visit MazAmar.com

For more information on the upcoming Highway 62 Artists Open Studio Tour visit www.hwy62arttours.org