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!

 

 

Blooms & Light

That’s Cerro Pedernal Mountain in the center horizon, the sacred mountain near Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch so loved and painted by Georgia O’Keefe. Earlier that evening a group of women (and their workshop leader) staying at the Mable Dodge campus met me at the St. Francis Church to photograph it around dusk. I eventually had urged them to follow me up to the last rest stop on 68 as you’re heading into Taos for a fuller view of the sky as shown in this photo.

Earlier I was able to record this lovely light with tree shadows on the St. Francis Church. I want to mention how I met the instructor of this journal sketching workshop. Her best friend goggled “Taos bloggers,” or something close, and found my Taos blog. Since she was looking forward to a trip to Taos for the class she found the blog interesting and forwarded it to Amy Bogard, the leader and planner of the group. Amy was about to experience her first time teaching/staying at the Mable Dodge. She emailed me with enthusiasm and praise for my blog and offered a link to her blog, which is more about her process as an artist. I really liked her blog and we began to talk about meeting when she got to Taos with her group.

She and her best friend had arrived two days before the group to get acclimated and ended up coming over to my house, among other things, on their first non-travel day. Amy bought this small Goddess altar from me and put it to good use as the centerpiece of a personal altar she set up in her room. There are now three other similar altar pieces available for sale at Wabi Sabi, along with a large group of my cards. Amy took this shot with her iPhone and I felt it spoke volumes about how I’m anticipating people will use my new approach to altars. It’s only 4″ across and made of paper mache, so neither large nor heavy.

This remarkable piece of textile art I found hanging on the fence next to Two Graces, a curio shop in the plaza of St. Francis Church. I had to include it in this blog out of total admiration for its brilliant and patient creator. I’d say the figures are Hopi or Zuni kachinas. As you can see it could use some repair, but mostly it’s in excellent condition. Just something unexpected to admire…

To end this week’s blog I’ll share some photos I took last week in the historic district of Taos. This type of rose must like the mountains because they were also common in Sun Valley, Idaho, where I last lived. They bloom early and so their beauty is most welcome and appreciated. I wish I knew the proper name for it, but nothing is coming to mind. I’m sure nurseries sell them. They have a wildish sprawling habit, most charming for landscaping that intends a casual look.

In case you haven’t guessed this is a peony bud. Found this along the north side of Bent Street. I’ll be sure to check back and photograph the flower in full bloom. When I was a young child growing up in Oklahoma I lived next door to a couple who had a large and varied collection of peony plants in their back yard and it was a special treat in late spring to be welcomed over to look at the flowers when they were in bloom. They seemed very exotic to me, hinted at wonders beyond my normal experience, promises of future revelations.