Tis the Season

People were starting to gather at the Taos Plaza before the official Christmas parade and lighting of the tree last weekend. There were free cups of hot chocolate and cookies along with mild temperatures. This “lighting of the plaza tree” event seems to be the earliest of the many traditional Christmas celebrations for this ever-popular season. From down town there’s no snow visible on Taos Mountain now. The latest talk is that this Sunday there’s a good chance of seeing some.

While walking from the plaza to a nearby store I noticed this creative window design. I wasn’t clear which store it was advertising but I really admired it. Taos has its charm and the holiday season can bring out some inspiration on the part of store owners trying to lure customers. It can be another reason to get out and shop around and even take a look at the rich diversity of crafts made by locals.

Here’s another store window shot, this one belonging to Wabi-Sabi, a store that focuses on gifts, mostly imported from Japan. This store is dear to my heart because they have been carrying my cards for several years now. More recently they have some of my Goddess altars on consignment. You can always count on a cup of tea while you browse.

This Kuan Yin wood altar is one example of my work displayed at Wabi-Sabi.

I’ve got my eye on these painted wood (hand carved?) flying Hanuman ornaments on sale now at the little shop at the Hanuman Temple. They’re $15 and I really admire them. I’m assuming they are imported from India?

I you’re looking for a lovely Christmas shopping experience try Country Furnishings of Taos owned by Mary Shriver. I suspect some people go there to browse just for a pick-me-up. Those are my handmade tree ornaments, which Mary’s carrying for the first time this season. She also has seasonal cards of mine and a few retablos.

Another great store to get to know, if you don’t already, is Garden and Soul, just off the plaza. They specialize in cards and local art. You’ll recognize by now that my work is well represented there with an assortment of offerings corralled in one corner. The store changed hands some months ago. The new owners are a couple, Bob and Stephanie Deavers. I’m sure they’d love you coming in and introducing yourself. Tell them I sent you, as they say.

Because of the location of my house (blocked as I am by trees and power lines) I rarely catch photos of amazing sunsets, of which we have many. I remember when I first moved to Taos I was truly astonished at their nightly show which reminded me of times past when  I lived along the Pacific Ocean in one place or another (San Francisco, Point Arena and Encinitas, all in California, and then time spent in Mexico, especially Todos Santos). There’s no ocean here, but you sure do get the sunsets.

This one caught my attention as it seemed the whole sky was ablaze. I took this shot facing east away from the setting sun.

Wishing you all well as you plot your course through shopping, celebrating and getting those packages wrapped and cards mailed in a timely fashion. Tis the season!

 

 

Tis The Season in Taos

You can’t go far these days without bumping into “the season.” I found these utterly charming hand carved and painted wood angels in Country Furnishings of Taos, one of the stores carrying my cards these days. They were dressing up for the holidays the week before Thanksgiving. Of course being myself in the business of making and selling my art and crafts I have nothing but a positive spin on this flurry of fresh beauty changing hands.

My main focus these days has been my participation in the TaosFolk.Com show now in full swing at the Stables Gallery until the day before Christmas. A small cadre of four women are in charge of this ambitious and innovative alternative to the typical holiday crafts show that involves each artist setting up a “booth” in some dreary large space. Here the setting itself is half the delight. Meg Greenwood, an interior designer, is in charge of the aesthetics and she knows how to work magic. This year the look is contemporary. There is no greenery in sight, but it feels like you have entered a place of beauty and interestingness.

I found this tiny dress to be an outstanding example of unexpected interestingness. The small items on the left are also by the same fabric artist. I regret that I was moving too fast to make notes about who made what as I was taking photos but I’m assuming you will or have already gone there yourself. One of the “rules” of the Taos Folk show is that all crafts have a retail price under $100.

This is a backside view of my area in the show, with a hanging card rack visible just to the right of center. The table to the right of that is someone else’s space. As you can see adding height by using boxes is integral to this year’s contemporary style.

One last Taos Folk photo shows the table where choices are finalized and free gift wrapping is generously and lovingly provided. I was allowed in this show last year on the Monday after Thanksgiving (3 days after it opened) and was generously offered a small card table in the back room. Being new in town I had joined the town’s annual Christmas crafts fair held in the style of individual booth spaces in large ballrooms. I had to create my own “space” and be there on site for three long days. Needless to say I was grateful to be allowed to transfer my unsold items to the Taos Folk show and pretty much walk away. Last year’s show was so popular that this time around they had a jury process to select artists, 40 I believe. Each artist has a photo and a bio on the TaosFolk.Com site.

Here’s a look at my encaustic tree ornaments in the painting step of the process. After the images are printed on rice paper and glued they are overpainted with oils. Once dry there is a final thin coating of encaustic medium to give durability and, as a bonus, a great smell similar to our local pinon pine.

A few days before Thanksgiving I decided to explore a gallery that has been on my mind. It was located north of Taos, a direction I rarely go since I live to the south. The gallery, Envision, is part of a complex of stores just south of the Waldorf School. I had driven by it many times and always wanted to stop there but was caught up in some purposeful bee-line for a different destination. The gallery has a large outdoor display of wind driven outdoor sculpture which you see from the road.

Instead of visiting Envision Gallery (closed) I entered its neighbor store, the Medicine House & Tea Shop, as you see painted on the glass in my photo which also reflects the outdoor sculpture. This is an experience I would recommend to all of my friends. I met April Dunbar, one of the two owners. She is an Ayervedic practitioner who can use tongue diagnosis to recommend the herbal tea appropriate for your healing. Yes, you show her your tongue. Needless to say I was eager for personal health analysis as always.

I am really starting to get it that Taos has nooks and crannies of interestingness that will never end. I’m so happy with my joyful job of sharing my discoveries with others.

Tin ornament from Taos Folk