The vivid, abstract and colorful graffiti-inspired art of Yakita Starr Fields adds a bright palette to the dark brown pillars of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe. While studying painting in Boston, Fields became interested in graffiti and it continues to influence his work, which has been exhibited in the US and Europe.
At the corner of Market and Paseo Peralta everything “M” is happening this morning: the Farmers Market, El Museo Cultural dance performance & Winter Mercado, Modern Art featuring the evocative landscape monotypes of Forrest Moses, and the delightfully unexpected Medieval Jousters.
Snow one day, blossoms over adobe walls the next morning...Spring in Santa Fe.....
My grandmother was a woman ahead of her time. While most women of her generation were homemakers, circumstances forced my grandma Ida into the role of working mom. She ran a restaurant and then went to work at a hostess a “white tablecloth” place that was spiffy in its day. She worked hard and made sure that her girls had what they needed. This did not, however, include much in the way of home cooking. On the many nights when my grandmother worked late, my mom and her sisters ate warm dinners from the restaurant kitchen that Ida had delivered in a taxi.
So you get the picture - no "Grandma's home-baked cookies" for me. But Ida did something far better. Throughout my childhood she never appeared at our house without a pink pastry box holding éclairs or cream puffs from the local bakery. This was the Fifties when bakeries actually made recipes from scratch using real butter and cream. My love affair with baking began with those pink pastry boxes. There is nothing like being a kid with a small face and a relatively large cream puff. When you bite into it, there are gobs of cream squirting all over – waiting to be licked off with a joyfulness that I can still remember. Over time, I switched allegiance to the chocolate and pastry cream of those éclairs…..
What does all this have to do with Santa Fe? Well, it turns out New Mexicans have a thing about éclairs. We were standing in line waiting to order in a café one day when a waiter walked by with the biggest éclair I had ever seen. On his next pass I just had to ask, and he laughed saying, “I took one of these giant éclairs home and it took me four weeks to eat it!” Several other places in town feature big éclairs.
But nothing prepared me for the extra giant humungous eclairs we found in Charlie’s Spic and Span coffee shop in Las Vegas, NM. The giant cream puff above the door should have been a dead giveaway.
Cruising the pastry case I stopped dead in my tracks. If Santa Fe had a Giant Éclair, - Charlie’s makes extra giant humungous size éclairs – at least 10” long. All are made on the premises with great pride.
Galisteo Basin Preserve is a 13,550 acre "Stewardship Community" just south of Santa Fe. It includes trails, open space and several planned communities. The views go for 100's miles in almost every direction.
Walking home from the bookstore the other day we encountered the crazed professor and his Back to the Future car. George Martin, author of the Game of Thrones, bought the Jean Coctaeu Cinema where he shows whatever he wants -- from highlights of Polish cinema to Barbarella. Back to the Future was the movie of the day.
Here in Santa Fe not only do drivers back up to allow you a safe crossing zone, but the grafitti has a friendly tone.
Last week my friend took us on a tour of the contemporary art galleries in Santa Fe's Railyard District. This area was formerly the blighted remains of the Atchison-Topeka and Santa Fe railroad yards. After years of planning and community input a plan was created in 2000 to breathe new life into this neighborhood. Today, the Railyard is a vibrant and lively neighborhood of parks, open space, art galleries, retail and public service buildings that honor the railroad's industrial past.
One of our first gallery stops was the TAI Gallery where works by Japanese bamboo artists were on display. While some looked like baskets one could possibly use but wouldn't dare, there were other creations that were strictly sculptures made from traditional bamboo basket-making materials.
The following Saturday I wandered through the Railyard again, this time stopping in the Fleamarket and the Artisan's Market where I met Ericka Eckerstrand, a totally different kind of basket-maker. Eckerstrand has created a whole line of bags, baskets, and home accessories using vinyl outdoor fabric. Her sturdy, flexible and waterproof baskets are artful and extremely functional. The inspiration came to her while working in a shop that makes custom awnings. As someone who has spent hours wandering the aisles of hardware stores looking for non-traditional uses of materials - sheetrock lathing for bird armatures, for example - her creativity just tickles my fancy. Not to mention the fact that her baskets are far more affordable than the lovely Japanese ones above.
Take a look and click on the pictures to visit Eckerstrand's website.
Driving through West Texas is a journey through a forlorn landscape of energy fields - oil, natural gas and fracking. Pecos, Texas, one of the few outposts of civilization for the energy workers, appears to have more pick-up trucks per capita than anywhere else in the world. One of thing about these guys and their trucks - they are the ones you want to follow to lunch. They led us to the best brisket sandwiches ever in a little BBQ joint in Pecos.
It was interesting that when we crossed the border from Texas into Mexico the land changed-not dramatically, but reminiscent of the difference you feel when you cross the Connecticut River from New Hampshire into Vermont. Still wide open high brush country with dramatic skies - but somehow a little less forlorn, more tinges of green and yellow in the palette.
In all of stops along the way, the only place where it took us three tries to get a motel room was Roswell, New Mexico. We happened to be into town when there was a big demonstration of new Boeing planes going on, along with a conference.
Despite its reputation for UFO's, which they capitalize on, the city has two wonderful museums. The Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art and the Roswell Museum & Art Center. The latter houses the workshop of Robert Goddard, the father of American rocketry. Goddard fired off his first rockets at Worcester Polytech while he was still a physics student, but he moved to Roswell in the 1930's for the wide open space. The residents of Worcester were grateful. The museum also houses a lovely art collection.
Fraulein Bosch had a sluggish morning in Roswell. We wondered if she had been communing with extraterrestrial GPS units or perhaps was just a bit hungover. Happily she recovered once we left Roswell and got us here to Santa Fe. With its many one way streets, her services are still needed, but Fraulein Bosch's pronunciation of the many Spanish names is a terrible assault on the language. Even my gringa ears cringe at her interpretations of:
Buena Vista- BOOON a VeesTAH
Camino Lejp - CammiNO Lee Joe
Our first week here was one of atypical grey and cold, but the sun has returned. At dusk our adobe-lined street has a silver glow from the naked trees that turn from a dull brown to a silvery glow in those magic moments. The fast moving grey clouds heighten the drama.