Authors talk about ‘Sun Sticks and Mud’

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Presentation > Trio will be part of the Authors Speak Series

By Special to the Monitor


Authors Bart Kaltenbach and Barbara Anschel, along with photographer Steve Fitch, have created a book chronicling the history of habitation and architecture in the desert Southwest with a personal slant. 

They will be part of the Authors Speak Series, at 7 p.m. March 28, in the upstairs rotunda at Mesa Public Library.

 The area they chose is 1,000-miles x 1000-miles, from west Texas to the Pacific coast, Chihuahua, Mexico to Utah. The book comprises essays on architectural history, including details of all manner of materials and techniques right up to new, sustainable green buildings; a travel journal of the authors’ quest to document the many structural styles and variations across state and national boundaries; and photographs of unusual buildings: ancient structures to cutting edge contemporary residential and commercial architecture. 

The title, “Sun Sticks and Mud,” gives a clear indication of the focus of the materials covered. 

The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and statewide authors talking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, New Mexico fiction, history and culture, poetry and more. The series is funded by the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries. The talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments. Some authors may participate with book sales and signings.

The talk is part of a much larger community-wide effort organized by the Los Alamos Historical Museum, entitled, “We Who Are Clay.” Exhibits, events, programs and activities will continue throughout March and into April. Here is a complete listing of related clay themed events, from the Los Alamos Historical Society:

“We Who Are Clay” schedule

Thursday: Soil testing hands-on activity to decipher clay, silt and sand at the Los Alamos Middle School garden site from 3:30-4:30 p.m., sponsored by Los Alamos Youth Food Project. Open to all ages.

March 26: Presentation on the 27-year history and accomplishments of Cornerstones by Jake Barrow, program director for Cornerstones Community Partnerships, in the Historical Museum, 7:30 p.m. Cornerstones has played a part in saving many adobe churches and used historic buildings throughout New Mexico and the Southwest. Barrow has also worked on historic preservation with the Romero Cabin and Fuller Lodge. He will discuss current work that emphasizes youth training. 

March 28: “Sun, Sticks, and Mud,” an Authors Speak event on earthen architecture in the Southwest at 7 p.m. at Mesa Public Library.

April 3: Worms and dirt activities. Join iCARE and the Pajarito Environmental Education Center for facts, experiments, games and activities that explore worms and composting, from 1-3 p.m. at PEEC.

April 5: Joint exhibit opening for Lechuguilla Cave, the Jewel of the Underground at Carlsbad Caverns National Park at Mesa Public Library from 4-5:30 p.m., and at PEEC at 5-6:30 p.m. John Lyles will talk at 6:30 at PEEC on his 20 years of involvement in mapping “the most beautiful cave on earth.” See PEEC website for more information.

April 6: Hike to historic Burnt Mesa Pueblo, an ancestral puebloan plaza site dating to the 1290s. See PEEC website for details.

April 8: Dirt cake activity by Assets in Action at 1:30 p.m. at the Youth Activity Center in Los Alamos.

April 18: Traditional green building sponsored by Los Alamos Co-op and PEEC. Jason Gedmin, owner of Free Flow Construction of Santa Fe, and Steve Watts, general manager of the co-op, will speak on the environmental advantages of building with local historic materials, from 7-8 p.m. at the Los Alamos Co-op Market.

April 20: Grand Opening of PEEC’s Mud Pie Factory on Earth Day. See PEEC website for more information on Earth Day Festival.

April 21: PEEC’s free Earth Day film, “Dirt! The Movie,” at 6 p.m. at the Reel Deal Theater. See the environmental, economic, social, and political impact that soil has.

April 22-26: Artist demonstrators for National Park Week at Bandelier National Monument.

April 27: Seedball-making, an activity of the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day. Contact Sylvan Argo at sargo@laymca.org or 662-3100.

Fuller Lodge
Art Center classes
for adults:

Mar 23: Torso sculpting workshop

For children:

Starting April 3: Clay Creations for grades 4-6
Starting May 15: Play with clay grades 1-6

Also coming soon:
Potsherd walk by Bandelier National Monument