Tis The Season–2

It was around 4:30 when I walked by the Taos Plaza and took this shot. I had just stopped to talk to a man who was putting candles inside the stand-up paper bags (with sand in the bottom) that would become “farolitos” as soon as it was dark. He told me he belonged to a local group of vets and that each year on the night of the “Lighting of Ledoux Street” a different Taos group took charge of this annual task.

This is what they look like before they are lit. A block away from the Plaza is Ledoux Street and it was getting ready for it’s annual festive lighting, meaning there would be farolitos lining the street on either side. The only traffic would be people strolling along stopping here and there to warm themselves at a wood fire (luminarias) or exploring inside one of the many galleries along the street. The Harwood Museum of Art, at the lower end of the street, always welcomes townspeople to stop in this night and look around (something that usually costs money). I enjoyed the magic of the evening myself and ended up with friends at the Adobe Bar.

I believe this photo was taken the day before from the parking lot behind Moby Dickens bookstore. I’ve noticed how much I’m lately enjoying the shapes of bare tree branches backed by shocking blue skies or, as here, the mix of clouds and sky. The sleek black ravens add to the mix–a favorite Toas winter image.

I doubt this image would be as charming without the dusting of snow. Love the yellow part that looks like a hat. Somehow it all comes together looking like a friendly alien that escaped from a candy-land planet.

This photo, also taken in downtown Taos, (a railing in front of Geraint Smith’s new photography gallery) should have been included in my somewhat recent Wabi-Sabi blog. Yes, there was water from melting snow standing in puddles that made for brushstrokes of contrasting lightness. The peeling “Taos Blue” paint is so much more interesting than a fresh, even coat would be.

Driving back from Santa Fe with a friend a week ago we stopped at the Chimayo church. These farolitos will light up at the turn of a switch and are designed to look like paper bags but are really plastic. They are practical when placed along roofs, which is often the case around town for public buildings or businesses that want to contribute to the nighttime ambiance of the season.

Yes, I’ve been making regular visits to the Taos Folk show at the Stables Gallery, checking on my inventory. The show is having great success. My friend, Sybille Palmer, is making these amazingly cute owl tree ornaments out of felted wool. I’ve heard they are a popular sale item.

I’ve also heard that the Taos Ski Mountain has good snow now. That can make a town like Taos pretty happy. It’s six days until the Winter Solstice on the 21st. I’ll be celebrating it with a newly formed Shamanic Drumming Group who gathers once a month at the new metaphysical store, OptiMysm. It’s been a few years since Taos has had a metaphysical store and for many this opens a fresh door to useful spiritual tools and locally made gifts, among other things.

Winter Solstice Card

SEED3 Art Show & Tell

This year’s SEED3 show took place during an exciting cold spell in Taos that brought a reported 9 inches of snow up on the Taos Ski Mountain. All those in attendance wisely wore plenty of warm layers of clothes. It was like a scene from another season, but I guess Taos folks are prepared for such inconveniences and so the opening was well attended. The seed-themed food was both beautiful (in a seed kind of way) and tasty and seem to disappear quickly.

This is a detail from a mixed media painting by Katie Woodall, who is one of the core of four seedettes who plan and organize all year to make this event happen. I am a big fan of her work. The name of the piece: Unfolding FIVE.

This is one of Mandy Stapleford’s many ceramic pieces, part of the group that hung on the wall, painted ceramic, the “Specimen Series.” Mandy is one of the originators of the concept of the SEED show three years ago.

Titled “Mysterious Burst” this handmade cast paper installation was created for the show by Stephanie Lerma and piled in a corner. For me it was the kind of art that was surely open to interpretation. It brought up a lot of images for me, raising more questions than answers.

Here’s another large and tantalizing piece by the same artist, Stephanie Lerma. She used handmade paper, beeswax and hollyhock seeds to create “Midnight in a Field of Flowers.”

These are my two Seed Quilt paintings, mixed media–collage and oil with encaustic on cradled birch panels.

I was able to catch this nice photo of Sybille Palmer standing in front of a part of her ambitious project, “Thirteen Endangered Plants of New Mexico.” Images of each of the 13 were printed on silk organza then mounted on cotton from India. The pieces were connected with supporting sticks and draped up the walls and across the ceiling. The end panels had lists of world-wide endangered plants. You can see the banner coming down on the opposite wall in the previous photo of my work.

Outside in the courtyard Matt Adams created this sculpture he named Cladobe Podster. Its ingredients are listed as wood, lathe, adobe clay, nylon fiber, oxides and acrylic admixture. I took this just as the sun was getting low in the west, with just enough light to accentuate the evocative shapes.

This photo shows off a couple of things. First the fiber art (crocheted jute) of Maria Hwang Levy. I believe this one is named “While with Quinn.” At the upper end of the photo you can see the entrance to the back room reserved for the educational part of SEED3, the Seed Exploratorium. Mondays are for visitors from local schools whose trips are organized as part of the show’s three-week venue.

And here’s an actual child demonstrating what it’s like to take seeds and grind them up into cereal-sized bits in the Seed Exploratorium. She seemed to be enjoying the task. I was introduced to her so learned her name is Camille, and she is the daughter of one of the artists in the show, Conrad Cooper.

Since this is a blog and not an official report of this show I have left out a lot of worthy art and a lot of names among the 16 artists who worked to make this event happen. For myself it was a joy and an honor to be a part of this year’s show.

I couldn’t leave out this photo of one of the food dishes contributed by artist Sybille Palmer. There were other artistic offerings of seed-related food but this took the prize. And yes, I had one of the tasty morsels even though it looked too beautiful to eat.

Recycled Art Show & Tell

This fabric piece by Susan Faeder was my favorite. It’s not large or nicely framed, nor do I have any idea who Susan is, but it won my heart. So painterly, and her self-expression is so full of feeling. Yes, I’m blogging about last Saturday’s Arte de Descartes that I mentioned last week while focusing mainly on the organizer and originator of this 11-year Taos recycled art tradition, Melissa Larson.

Also greatly admired this wood and metal piece by Lydia Garcia. It takes the idea of retablo art to a new level. As the title suggests…glorious! And I won’t be able to show all the art that had a similar energetic quality to these first two, but I will say that this is the kind of art that I expected to find more of in Taos when I moved here, now 15 months ago–art that feels authentic, from the soul, and with its own inherent quality of liveliness and spirit. And for this reason I highly recommend any of you reading this who missed the opening to try and get by the Stables Gallery and see this show, a true Taos treasure. It’s open until September 11 and the hours are normal business hours.

This construction is by Sybille Palmer, a Taos local and art friend of mine. It’s titled Ceremony and is expressive of an aspect of one of my favorite themes, the Divine Feminine. The small painting to the right is my collage named Shakti Yantra, which expresses something similar but in a highly symbolic language. The juxtaposition of the two pieces feels harmonic.

Out in the courtyard during the first two hours of the opening was Reuben Medina and his band of several musical friends. It is my understanding that Reuben has a kind of open house at his place on Sundays for a musical gathering, but don’t just show up on my word please. He obviously loves music and the idea of playing in a spontaneous way in the context of a group. This approach lent a beautiful atmosphere to the courtyard where lots of folks were milling about, some in anticipation of the fashion show.

The recycled fashion show (called Glam Trash) started at 6 PM with a bang–this very relaxed and dramatic woman on stilts. Wish I had her name to offer. But this photo captures the excitement of the moment when she appeared to start things off. Also I love the way the photo reflects the natural beauty of this courtyard dedicated to art of all kinds throughout the seasons in Taos. It is an extension of the Stables Gallery which is basically a public gallery, operated by the Taos Art Organization, TAO.

There were, of course, many charming and delightful women who walked the “catwalk,” some in shoes that made walking in gravel a challenge–women of all ages and shapes and degrees of swagger and interesting outfits. But there were also many young girls and this one stood out in my photos. Her outfit was named, “Everything.”

And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the band that played for the fashion show. Each person walking down the path had her own individual music. As I hope you can see from this photo the kind of music played somewhat defies typing. Horns were a big part of the sound, I’ll say that. The complexity of the drums and percussion you can only surmise from the set-up on the lower left corner of the photo. The entire event–this celebration of recycling was a wake-up call to the spirit side of myself and I expect that was the effect it had on everyone. What a collaborative creation, a kind of art “happening” in the heart of downtown Taos! I’m proud to have been a small part of it.

My other collage in the show–Divine Feminine Yantra