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Bandelier Welcomes Artist In Residence Paul Cruz

on September 13, 2017 - 7:42am
Bandelier Artist In Residence Paul Cruz and some of his original jewelry pieces. Courtesy NPS
Recently, Bandelier National Monument welcomed the park’s Artist in Residence for September, Paul Cruz. 
Paul is no stranger to the area, as he was born in Espanola and still has many relatives in the area. In fact, for those familiar with the Los Alamos Ranch School and the Manhattan Project, his grandfather was Bences Gonzales, a hardworking and well-loved character through those years in Los Alamos history. Cruz’s mother and her siblings grew up in Los Alamos.  His uncle, Ray Gonzales, wrote the book, “A Boy on the Hill”, about growing up on “the Hill” during the Ranch School years.
Taught by his father, Cruz began learning jewelry making and lapidary work at an early age. He has used a variety of techniques for his original designs, including soldered applique, stamping, and setting stones in bezels. His materials include silver, gold, and copper, as well as a wide variety of semi-precious and precious stones, and also bone. He likes making pieces that incorporate a theme or story. Cruz’s favorite styles are inlay and raised inlay, and he is particularly fond of working with turquoise. During his Residence month in Bandelier, he’s hoping to take the time to soak in the park’s distinctive geologic and cultural setting, and incorporate it into future work. 
Cruz is planning to provide a demonstration of his skills this Friday, Sept. 15, on the back porch of the Bandelier Visitor Center from 10-2. In addition, while here he would like to offer a free one-session hands-on class for a small group of adults and/or older youth. If a Scout troop or other group would be interested, they should call Chris Judson at the park at 505.672.3861 x 513 to make arrangements.     
Along with his wife and their two grown children, Cruz resides in Fort Collins, Colorado, and works for the US Forest Service in outdoor recreation. He said, "I was really honored to be accepted as the September Artist in Residence and looked forward to coming to Bandelier and experiencing the area. Now that I'm here, I am obtaining a deeper understanding of what it must have been like for the Ancestral Pueblo people so long ago. It is a great experience."