Thursday, August 5, 2010

Totally Enchanted

SFtoTaosThe license plate doesn’t lie, New Mexico is truly the Land of Enchantment. My trip was only a week, and packed with visits to exhibits, Convergence, and the ATA retreat, so I didn’t have nearly enough time to explore. I will definitely be back! I arrived in Albuquerque in the early afternoon, and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of traffic, and ease of driving. (OK, if you can drive in RI anything else seems easy).

ABQhotel-blue-view2 The airport is only about 15 minutes from downtown. After checking into the remarkably inexpensive Hotel Blue, I called Donna Loraine Contractor and invited myself over to visit her studio. She gave me an important clue about finding my way when she said “Follow Central Ave east, that’s towards the mountains.” AHA! Central Ave is also Historic Route 66, and features some lovely old buildings, like this one, the Kimo Theater.ABQ-KimoRt66

Sadly, my photos of Donna’s studio seem to have disappeared, except for this one. You can see her tapestries on her website, and read about her latest adventures on her blog.

Donna-ContractorThis photo of Donna taking my picture in her studio shows her amazing AVL loom, and some of her many collections. As a glass collector myself, I’m jealous of the wonderful window that shows off her glass.

The next day, my friend (and roommate) Marcy and I drove to Taos, because I felt the need to visit Weaving Southwest. Weaving SW3This is a wonderful gallery that also sells hand-dyed yarns, and looms and spinning wheels.  It was the brainchild of the legendary Rachel Brown, who opened it in 1985 as a market for her Rio Grande Looms and Spinning Wheels. SFtoTaosgorgeEven though the drive was incredibly scenic, I was a little doubtful Taos-Lalana-2about driving for 3 hours just to see one store, but when I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed with delight: totally worth the trip.

The walls are covered with tapestries, and there are racks full of handwoven rugs and tablerunners. And yarns, many many yarns.

After spending lots of time and money at Weaving Southwest, we walked a few blocks to LaLana Wools,  a small shop just packed with plant dyed yarns and fibers. Taos-Lalana-Wools

More oohs and aahs, and more exercise for my credit card!

After a very late lunch, we hoped to get back to Albuquerque in time for an opening reception, but it started raining so hard we couldn’t get back to the car for almost an hour! SFtoTaosclouds2web

Of course we were prepared, with a raincoat and an umbrella… the car. All the way back to Albuquerque we could see lightning off in the distance in every direction, and occasionally had to slow down for more torrential rains.

ABQtoSFNew Mexico has the most amazing clouds, particularly during this “monsoon season!”

We missed the opening reception, but the drive was spectacular.


Stay tuned, there will be lots more about New Mexico.

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