Cornerstones busy working at area churches
elping communities to maintain traditional mud-plaster finishes on their historic churches is a central part of the Cornerstones Community Partnerships mission, and the organization is hard at it this summer.
“We’re working on mudding in Ojo Caliente right now at St. Mary’s,” Jake Barrow, executive director, said inmidJune. “It never ceases to amazeme that the people in the community come out and do that routine and bring food and they love being out there. They called me last year and I put them on the list, and we mobilized. The appreciation is so strong. We’ll be finished there in late June, then we’re going to El Rito and start on that church, San Juan Nepomuceno. We’ll be there for just a couple of weeks in July; it doesn’t need too much work.
“We’re also starting on the Casita de Martina at Plaza del Cerro in Chimayó and I’ve got a guy fromOhkay Owingeh, Eric Calvert, who’s a master adobe craftsman and he’s leading that. I think that’s interesting where a Pueblo guy is coming to help out in Chimayo, the traditional Hispanic community, but everybody is welcoming. I think that’s so special in New Mexico today, the cooperation you see in the villages.”
Does he still see women doing the plastering? That was the exclusive domain of the women, who were known as enjarradoras. “Yes, I do, and I think it was the women who did the plastering in the Nativeworld and the Spanish adopted that. I have seen older women at San José de Gracia Las Trampaswho take great pride in plastering, and I met a woman at Jemez Pueblowho does it.”
Cornerstones is also going to be collaborating with young people inWagonMound who are working on an adobe building for the veterans there— specifically for A Veteran Affair Educational Center for Arts & Cultures, whose mission is “to assist in the transition between military and civilian life and recovery from the traumas of war through education, expression, and appreciation of the arts.”
Barrow also looks forward to teaming up with the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute on a solar education program that will be housed in a John Gaw Meem building. And inAugust, Cornerstones will begin working with com- munities in the Mora area on mud-plaster repair to three churches: San Rafael in La Cueva, San Antonio De Padua in Chacon, and Santo Nino de Atocha in Monte Aplanado.
The adobe brickmaking workshops recently organized by Cornerstones and the Historic Santa Fe Foundation went off spendidly. “We had 30 or 40 people a day at the Palace of the Governors and SanMiguel Chapel on the four Saturdays in May. We made hundreds of adobes that we’re going to be using,” Barrow said. “One couple came up from Albuquerque with their little daughter and they were having a great time. The man said, ‘I didn’t know anything about this and I asked my wife on Saturday what she wanted to do for Mother’s Day and she said, “I want to go up to Santa Fe and make bricks.”’ So they hopped on the train and came up here and spent all day making adobes. On Mother’s day! I thought thatwas really cool. We’re defiinitely going to do it again next year.”
To volunteer with Cornerstones, call 505-982-9521. The website is www.cstones.org.— PaulWeideman
Community members mud-plastering the side of the transept at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Ojo Caliente