Sophomore Gabriela Escarcega is the executive director of the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico Craft Studio, where she oversees all studio programming and staff.
The ASUNM Craft Studio is a jewelry and craft workshop open to UNM students, staff and community members and houses several student employees.
As a studio arts minor, Gabriela learned of the job during a summer arts apprenticeship.
“I was an apprentice at ALMA (Apprenticeships for Mosaic Arts) in 2017, where we work on the mosaic murals outside of the Convention Center,” Escarsega said.
Partly through experience and connections gained from her experience at ALMA’s Summer Institute, Escarcega started in the craft studio as ceramic technician.
As a ceramic technician, Escarcega was able to lead workshops. These workshops are part of the ASUNM Craft Studio’s weekly programming.
Membership at the studio includes basic ceramics workshops, wheel throwing and jewelry making. Private and group lessons from the studio’s technicians are also available upon request.
Membership also includes access to all necessary equipment and tools, and the studio staff said they are always ready to provide advice to students using the studio’s equipment.
Materials are available for purchase at a discounted rate as well, and members only pay for projects they finish and take home.
Memberships are available to students, staff and community members at affordable rates. Although the student and staff membership rates are discounted, the studio maintains a large community presence.
“I’d say most of our community members are our regulars, and everyone who comes in is very nice... It is a very chill and relaxing place to work.” Escarsega said.
In fact, when Escarsega was asked about her favorite parts of the job, she noted the community programs the Executive Director oversees.
This includes the ASUNM Annual Arts and Crafts Fair, which Escarcega coordinated in December. The fair occurs annually around the winter holidays, and showcases handmade work by students and the local community.
Another inclusive, campus wide event put on by the ASUNM Craft Studio is their annual Mosaic Tile-making Day. This occurs every spring and is open to all students, not just those with memberships.
“It’s free to everyone, not just members,” Escarcega said. “We have a separate tile carving and glazing workshops in the (SUB) Atrium.”
After students carve or glaze a tile, the craft studio staff installs the tiles in the ongoing mosaic mural outside of the basement of the sub near Popejoy. The mosaic that was started during the spring 2016 semester is decorated in various colors, styles and textures.
“It’s a really cool event because (students) can have a tile on the wall for 200 plus years,” Escarcega said.
Sophia Sambrano is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @sambsoph.