Roy Gilbert

Years in the making: Artist, former Syzygy owner receives governor’s award

David del Junco watches Lee Gruber work inside their home Friday. Gruber, former owner of Syzygy Tile, received this year

David del Junco watches Lee Gruber work inside their home Friday. Gruber, former owner of Syzygy Tile, received this year’s New Mexico Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts. (Press Staff Photo by C.P. Thompson) From opening handcrafted tile manufacturer Syzygy Tileworks to creating the CLAY Festival, Lee Gruber’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed in Grant County — but her contributions to the Land of Enchantment have now been recognized by the state of New Mexico. Along with a few other recipients, Gruber was honored with the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts last weekend. However, decades before Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recognized Gruber as a major contributor to the arts, her artistic journey began at the Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, Pa. There, she and her husband, David del Junco, first watched artists make tile by hand. “We decided we can do that here, in Silver City,” Gruber said. She said neither she nor del Junco was trained in ceramics, but they had help from many local potters and business people in those early days. The tile business began in 1993, when Gruber and del Junco opened a workshop in the garage of their home just west of Silver City. For five years, they developed the company, their glazes and initial designs. Before long, “we outgrew the space,” Gruber said. So, in 1998, the two moved into the former icehouse of the old Community Public Service Co. power plant — now the Home Furniture warehouse — […]

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