Francisco Gonzales is a clay artist, wood sculptor, and teacher. The only son of a copper miner and folk artist, Pancho spent his life exploring the wilderness and abandoned mines, and the ancient and more modern ruins around his home towns, Morenci, AZ, and Clifton, AZ. After high school, Pancho began working for the Phelps Dodge copper mine. It was at the copper mine that he first encountered high-fire furnaces used in the smelting of metals. He says, “The process is dirty and dangerous, and the scale of the furnace is huge. The furnace was 3,000 degrees and it was my job to maintain the temperature inside—I wore three layers of clothing and a fire suit with a respirator.”
Pancho left his hometown and the copper mine and moved to Tucson to major in design at the University of Arizona. He studied clay under Maurice Grossman, and he began to develop his own style. He is also the author and illustrator of the children’s books The Big Stumble and When I Say Jump, Jump.
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