Sunday, June 28, 2009

Santa Fe My Way, Favorite Things to Do

I have loved visiting Santa Fe since the 1970's and probably should have moved there in the 70's.
Well, I didn't. If I had moved there I would probably be a real estate tycoon and have more cash in my checking account. But, alas I feel like a very rich woman in so many other ways. And, I probably would not have gone to graduate school and would have a very different kind of education. I say I am from Santa Fe, I have just never lived there. It still could happen.

So, on my limited budget, I have figured out ways to go there and have a wonderful time and sometimes I think I would like to get some friends together for a mini-tour and show them my favorite ways to spend time in SF. This is my way to have a budget trip to Santa Fe so we can stay longer.

Where to stay? I always look at those gorgeous on the square hotels on the corner and I think, One night or four nights? Four of course. That means I don't stay at La Fonda or any other fabulous places. It would take so much of my cash I would not want to leave the room and what fun would that be? And, I don't like plastic hotels either. I don't like to smell the lingering plastic smells from chain hotels on my PJs at the next spot. So what is left? The Silver Saddle.
It is an old hotel, next to Jackalope, and it was recommended by a friend several years ago.

Silver Saddle is a funky 60's type hotel. Penny owns it, having recently re-acquired it from Jackalope, the giant shopping spot next door to the hotel. It was a little worn a few years ago and then just kept slipping every time we visited until now. Penny and her daughter are back and the charm has returned with their tender loving care. I am not talking luxury. It is old fashioned, clean, safe with the basics. No luxury linens, no room service. They have an assortment of rooms based on themes. I am not disclosing my favorite room because I want there to be a chance it could be available on my next trip! There is the route 66 room, the Roy Rogers room and mini apts. We are usually there in pleasant weather so we can take a bottle of wine, delicious treats from Whole Foods Market down the street and sit outside for a happy hour at night. When we left, Penny, her daughter Dawn and friends were planting and painting and doing so many things to fix it up again. They had thrown out the riff-raff that was making us uncomfortable on our last trip. It is a fun place to be again.
We have also stayed the KOA cabins about 10 minutes out of town which is a very different experience. Sleeping out of town with a sage and sand experience can be fun too with a few good books, a cooler and fewer trips back and forth.
The Sage Inn is newly redecorated, costs more and has smaller rooms. Sometimes their rates drop considerably off season and you might get a discount if you have a workshop at Santa Fe Clay. Usually, I choose staying longer at the Silver Saddle. The Sage does have a big breakfast but Santa Fe is a food fest anyway so why start the day with a big breakfast?
None of these places are for the four/five star hotel type person. Remember I ride my bike to work and work in clay all day and never order room service.

Whenever we visit anywhere we look for bookstores, coffee shops and brewpubs. And Santa Fe also has a great TeaHouse on Canyon Road and a zillion great galleries as well. We always hit the Garcia Street Bookstore with a coffee shop next to it.

And, Cowgirl Restaurant has the great beer and the best squash casserole I have ever tasted. Second Street Brewery is another hot spot for us. We sit out on the patio with a lot of locals and drink an interesting beer or two and try to resist the fish and chips. They have good salads as well and and delicious food and friendly service. That is usually where we go first, sit and recoup and read the local papers to get info on what is happening while we are there.

There are usually interesting art opening, lectures and more and you can search the web before you travel or check out there local publications, THE, Santa Fe Reporter, and few more you can find in Whole Foods lobby or by the door at many shops and restaurants. The Santa Fe Photographic Workshps always have great lectures through the week when in session.

And of course, you must go the Farmer's Market if you are there in season. Where else can you see great local produce, goat cheese products, soap, raku firings, straw hats and baskets and more. One visit we even lucked into Alice Water's from San Francisco signing her cookbooks.
The Flea Market is worth driving to but used to be better, before the road construction happened and the rules for vendors changed. It is a lot smaller but still better than most.

The thrift store are fun too with better than usual stuff. My favorites are the Hospice thrift store on Cerrilious Road and Second Time Around, next to Cowgirls Restaurant.

You must have time to walk Canyon Road with all the galleries, and poke around the 5 and dime on the square. If you want to go "up town" and you have saved some cash for a few more expensive places, I recommend Geronimos (had a great meal there when they still did lunch, for my anniversary) and O'Keefe Cafe, lovely dining outside with elegant food, and of course Coyote Cafe. Tamasita's is good with traditional New Mexican style foods and way too much food for me. We split everything when we dine and we both left stuffed after splitting a main course and an appetizer.

And, if you like to collect art but cannot afford original painting you might try the poster store owned by Steven Fox, a local and very real character.. He and his two dogs will show you around his studio stuffed with posters, signed and unsigned. He has a great variety of collectable expensive and not so expensive posters.

A trip for me always includes an evening in the hot springs an hour away at Ojo Calliente. And, I will eventually go to Ghost Ranch as well. So far, we have only had time to drive by. Taos is always a treat and I could not drive to Santa Fe from Tulsa without stopping at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa.

Next trip will probably be during the Folk Art Festival and may also include a trip to the Gruett Winery.

There is always more to do and we try to remember to relax a bit as well. Maybe it is a good thing that it is 11 hours from Tulsa so we have a little down time as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

These Pots Belong in Santa Fe

Unfinished pots waiting in Tulsa for bright turquoise and indigo blue and browns inside.

Very large bowls waiting to be fired with earth surfaces. They will wait until I return.

Castile Blue enormous bowl. Complete and waiting for a home. about 12" high and 18" wide

"I don't belong in Santa Fe! I am a voo doo deva inspired by a visit to New Orleans about 15" high and ready to be in a garden year round to scare away slugs!"

Garden Angel sold to collector recently for $125.
About 20" tall.

I sit in the motel enjoying being in Santa Fe. It always feels right. I love the galleries, the cool summer weather, the good food and the general environment. We have a funky little motel decorated in the route 66 style and it feels wonderfully alternative.
Before I left, I made a few pots in the spirit of Santa Fe. They are glazed and waiting in my kiln at home to be fired when I return. I think they belong in Santa Fe and I would like to find a gallery to show my work.
I am posting these unfinished photos and will post the finished work when I get back. They will reflect the colors of Santa Fe when complete.
And right before I left I had a lovely lady come to my shop who collect angels and she purchased the angel above for her collection. The face on the angel looks both like my daughter Rachel as a child and an angel I saw on the facade of a church in England. I am glad it found a home to a lady who really appreciates it. It always feels good to sell some sculpture.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chocolate Clouds

It is not just a lump of clay. It is a chocolate cloud.
Made by a 6 year old.

My friend Vera has two fascinating little grand boys. She brought in this most unusual piece for me to fire and I looked at it and asked what it was.
"Oh," she said, "He said it is a chocolate cloud." Of course, how could I not know? I love the way kids think. What a great imagination. And that is so hard for us to regain as we get older.

It reminded me of when my friend Kristine's sweet nephew said, "Oh, when you throw on the potter's wheel it looks like the clay is dancing in front of you."

We need to listen when children speak.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Swimming in the Blue Hole, Santa Rosa NM

We were perhaps the craziest as well as the oldest people swimming in the blue hole secret swimming spot on the way to Santa Fe. It is as seen in the sign, 61 degrees year round and sometimes it feels colder when it is 98 degrees outside as you hop in the very cold water. It is a terrifically local unspoiled spot full of local kids and families. We jump in every chance we get as we drive across the country. It feels great once you get in but it really does take your breath away the first few minutes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What to do in Tulsa? How about a Pottery Class?

My wonderful friend and student Vera Ballew brought her grandchildren and family by to make a few pots. Every age can enjoy making pots from real clay, not molds, It is fun and orginal!

It is time to start a new class at Brookside Pottery in Tulsa. It is fun and you get the basics and will discover creativity you never knew you had and have a really good time at the same time.

Beginning handbuilding
Meets every Tuesday night for 4 weeks starting June 30th.
The class is on going and you sign up for 4 at a time. Occasionally in the summer we skip a week or you may have a vacation plan as well. We do our best to stay flexible in the summer and skip every now and then

Time 6:30-9:30pm
Cost $100 ( $25 each time we meet) and a one time fee of $40 for materials.

What you will learn. The basics. Pinching, coiling, building with slabs and hollowing out clay and combining those methods. I demonstrate a new technique every week and you can monkey see monkey do or choose a project of your choice to learn the new method of building.

How to join? Class size is small 5-6 persons at a time so space is limited. Call me or email and put down a $50 deposit and that will hold a space for you.

Phone (918) 747-7574 or (00 are numbers not letters)

I will call or email you and confirm a space in the class just for you.

Just off 37th street in the alley behind Lockers Hair Salon. Come find me! We even have an art garden now!

When? If we have enough confirmed students we will begin June 30th.

Private lessons are available, birthday parties and scout groups and assorted other get togethers as well. Call for more info.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Will Not Compain About the Heat, I Will Not Complain About the Heat....

This is a wonderfully utilitarian bowl I made in Costa Rica and brought home to keep. Tonight I cut a wonderfully ripe avocado for supper and served it from this bowl. Lovely and delicious. A bowl like this runs about $15. And, it is a great size for soup and cereal as well.

Air conditioning is a relatively new thing, right? I said I would not complain about being warm after freezing this winter. Well, I may have to change the shop hours in order to survive the heat and I am not complaining. If it is going to be above about 93 I will have to work early morning hours and if I have the energy, evening hours as well. It just makes sense. It was 98 on my car thermometer today and the studio was about 94. Sweat was pouring down my back most of the afternoon in the shop on my day off, so to speak, but it was not too bad. My hair got kinky and my bra was steaming but I was not cold. So I will work tomorrow and keep the fan blowing on me the whole time, I hope. I am not complaining.
It was not so long ago that there was less deodorant and more heat. Hmm. What a sensual experience, kind of.

The glass remains half full, not half empty. I slept most of Sunday recouping from last week. If I work in a more primitive studio I gotta go with the flow and slow down.

The glass remains half full. I see the birds in the mud puddle bathing because of the two days of rain. I am watching the sparrow flying to her nest feeding her babies all day. They are surviving this year. I have managed to slow the traffic beside my alley door, for safety and dust control putting my sign in the alley with an official looking orange cone. People are finding me slowly but surely even though it is still hard to make ends meet. The building has not sold and the rent has not gone up. I think I can. I think I can.

I still have special orders and regular customers and soon I will post photos on line of my work for sale. The new art and flower garden is slowly coming into place and we will have our get togethers soon. I have to find someone with a truck or trailer and 20 minutes to help me move my picnic table from home to shop. My community of friends continues to surprise me with their generosity of time, energy, plants, fence and more and the flowers left behind are popping up in the same spirit.

Now if I can just turn my hours around and work early and take that afternoon siesta.

I am ready to take the challenge of the hot afternoons now. I think I can!

Photos of Kids Working in Clay at Rt 66 Festival Sapulpa

Thank you Vera Ballew for taking these photos as we made pots in the street in Sapulpa Ok during the Route 66 festival. The wind was blowing like crazy but it did not keep these kiddos from making pottery with me. The made pinch pots with interesting textures and told me all about their lives at the same time. You never know how this will affect their lives later. Most likely someone will want to make pots again. It is great to watch them discover clay and interesting to hear their life stories. Occasionally we had to jump up and catch the tent. Waterstreet Art Gallery paid me a little to make pots with them all day. I think those kids really need more clay activities in school. They could have made pottery all day. I was pooped at the end of a very rewarding day.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Feel so Lucky, Making Art.

Today I sat at a booth in the Route 66 Festival in Sapulpa OK making pinch pots with kids off the street for free all day. I saw the basics. Clay in action as therapy and the joy of watching people learn how creative they can be and how rewarding it is.
I think we never get any better than we are in the 6th grade. You have the dexterity and no inhibitions. They know how to communicate and are grateful about the experience. They are critical but now too critical. Those adolescent inhibitions has usually not taken hold yet.

One little very masculine little girl wrote a note on her clay to her dad who died last year. It was her shiney diamond like earrings that told me she was a girl. She told me the story about his death and looked longingly into her pot. Another sad and serious little boy, worked and worked on his pot and then left it behind instead of taking the "free pot" with him because he was moving. Obviously he was not happy about moving but was to modest to complain about it and took it all into his heart. His sad eyes were telling. I saw a tough little skate park boy soften and create as he struggled to make a pot with one arm in a cast. There were some kids with obvious learning disabilities who loved the feel of the clay and would have stayed to work all day if parents had not pulled them away. They immediately felt at ease and confident with the clay. It was a wonderful cross section of society working in clay, a very deverse group.

So there we were in the middle of street in downtown Sapulpa on a hot and windy day in Oklahoma making an art school happen in the middle of a downtown street. I had great help from Vera, who always seems to be there helping when I need help the most. I have wonderful friends and sometimes I think they are really guardian angels, disguised as earthlings helping me get through the day. It was like the movie saying, "Just build it and they will come."

And, I might add as a potter of some 35 years, we learned a lot today. One little girl took such an original approach to working with clay that we photographed her pot and asked if we could copy some of her ideas. Oh the wonders of the fresh young enthusiastic mind in clay. It was an exhausting day and I did not make much money at all with the free booth and took about a four hour nap for me to recuperate. What a pleasure to learn from the children. And what a pleasure for them to have unique clay experiences. Water Street Gallery in Sapulpa hired me for the day to make this happen and give the community an awareness that art is there.

I will post some photos when people send them to me. Art communicates.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Life's Balancing Act

Life, job. job, life, kids, life, independence, kids. life, love, help, keeping, cleaning, job, life, obligations, freedom. freedom, obligations, life, job. help, hinder, cleaning, sorting, loving, smothering, responsibility, obligation, freedom, loving, helping, freedom, life, job, job, life.