Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


 Signpost Cartoon, c. Rudi Klimpert

2009 schedule announced for “Art in the Park” events

Art in the Park, a series of fine arts and crafts shows sponsored by the Corrales Society of Artists will take place the third Sunday of each month in the Village of Corrales starting in May and running through October. The dates are May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, and October 18, 2009.

This year’s fifth season of shows promises to be bigger and better than ever before, featuring local and visiting painters, sculptors, photographers, potters, metalworkers, and crafts artisans who have been juried into the society. Hours for the events are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at La Entrada Park (at the northwest corner of Corrales and La Entrada Roads). Parking and admission to the events are absolutely free. Live music, food, and art demonstrations in this cool and shady location make these events some of the most unique and enjoyable of their kind in the area. As in past years, there will be a youth tent at each event, wherein selected artists will work to teach children the basics of various media of art, ranging from painting and drawing to bead-making.

The Corrales Society of Artists is a coalition of local artists dedicated to furthering and exhibiting the talented and skilled artists living in the Corrales area, as well as raising the awareness of the arts and arts education. They boast over one hundred members working in various media from painting to colored pencil, photography to fabric art, and sculpture to ceramics. They have built a reputation as one of the premier art associations in New Mexico. For more information, please visit their website at

Placitas Artists Series presents April featured artists 

On Sunday, April 19, The Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Dorothy Bowen, Patricia Forbes, Preston Photography, and Jeffrey J. Schmitt with a reception at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. The works will be on display from the first Saturday of April through the first Friday of the following month.

Dorothy Bowen works on silk with dyes resisted by molten wax and also in the ancient Japanese technique of rozorne, an extremely intricate and slow process of layering dye and wax on silk which has been sized with a soybean ground. Dorothy draws upon familiar and remembered places as subjects for her paintings.

Patricia Forbes works with acrylic and paper. She creates a textured under-layer using acrylic materials, and then paints that layer to produce a reflective quality. Says Forbes, “I then apply layers of paper images, shapes, and more paint over this background to produce the finished visual result.” In 2007, Albuquerque The Magazine selected Patricia Forbes as Best Local Artist and in 2008, as Best of the Rest.

Preston Photography is the work of Roxanne Blatz and Roger Preston. Their images are from around the country and the world. The work features scenics, abstracts, and humor. The current works displayed are all color, printed with archival inks and paper.

A reception for the artists will be held at 1:30 p.m. on April 19, 2009, prior to a concert by Walt Michael & Company. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas; Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho; or online at Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students.

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242). For more information, call 867-8080 or visit

Chocolate Fairy


Darci Rochau’s chocolate sculpture entitled “Fairy” won the People’s Choice Award at the Annual Chocolate Fantasy.

This year’s theme for the gala was “Spirit of Celtic Lore.”

“Chocolate Fantasy” honors Hyatt Regency Tamaya pastry chef

The 17th Annual Chocolate Fantasy, a gala fundraising event, awarded the People’s Choice Award for chocolate sculpture to Darci Rochau, a pastry chef at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya. Her chocolate sculpture entitled “Fairy” was awarded the honor and she also received recognition in the event’s hotels and casinos categories. The award recipient was selected by those who attended the event.

The sculpture entries were designed according to the event’s “Spirit of Celtic Lore” theme and were evaluated on taste and artistic quality. Rochau’s sculpture is a woman’s torso with a large Celtic cross embedded in the left side, transposed over green vines. Celtic knots are drawn into the shoulders and neck, with butterflies sitting atop each shoulder. Giant blue and green wings come out of the back of the sculpture as it sits upon a flowerpot with vines and roses creeping up the sculpture and spilling onto the ground. The fairy body, wings, and flowerpot were made of molded dark chocolate. The vines, butterflies, and flowers were made with white modeling chocolate and pastiage, a thick cake icing. The Celtic cross was constructed of pastiage and surrounded by poured sugar.

“The sculpture took me nearly two months to create and I am happy that I could contribute an entry for such a prestigious event. I believe that it is important for all of us at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya to use our talents to help the community, as well as serve our guests,” Ms. Rochau said.

The17th Annual Chocolate Fantasy is a gala fundraiser that benefits the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation. Following this year’s theme, the event included Celtic cuisine, the chocolate sculpture competition, a silent auction, and live Celtic music and dancing with performances by Daved Levine, The Celtic Coyotes, and the McTaggert Irish Dancers.

“The Hyatt Regency Tamaya is very proud of Darci’s accomplishments at the 17th Annual Chocolate Fantasy, because it showcases the creative skills of our pastry chef,” said Jerry Westenhaver, general manager of the Hyatt. “Darci’s chocolate sculpture is a great example of her talents and we are very happy that we can offer her pastry and dessert creations to our guests. They are as delicious as they are beautiful.”

The influential 1960s: rock and roll and radical politics

On April 14 at 6:30 p.m., Peter Chase, an instructor at Central New Mexico Community College, will conduct a workshop on rock and roll music from the 1960s as part of a series on two aspects of that influential period of time.

Peter will discuss how the emerging music scene of the time affected people and society, beginning with the Beatles arrival in America and extending through the mid- to late-60s. He will play music from Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix. No tickets or registration are required to attend this program.

On April 16 at 6:30 p.m., Mark Rudd, a political activist from the 1960s, will conclude the series from that era. Mr. Rudd is a former teacher at Central New Mexico Community College and was one of the original leaders of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Columbia University and a founder of the militant Weather Underground, also from that time period.

Mark will discuss and sign his new book, Underground: My Life in SDS and the Weathermen. Books will be available for sale.

Both programs will be held at the Esther Bone Memorial Library, located at 950 Pinetree Road SE in Rio Rancho. For information, call 891-5012, ext. 3128.

Walt Michael & Company to perform at Placitas Artists Series event

Michael considered to be a virtuoso of tremendous influence in the revival of the hammered dulcimer

On Sunday, April 19, The Placitas Artists Series will present Walt Michael & Company. Considered to be a virtuoso of tremendous influence in the revival of the hammered dulcimer, Walt’s wide repertoire ranges from old-time Southern Appalachian, to Celtic, to breath-taking original compositions. His various musical incarnations have spanned over thirty-five years and taken him from the coal camps of Appalachia to the Closing Ceremonies of the 13th Olympic Winter Games. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, he has recorded fourteen albums and instructional videos, appeared at the White House, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the UK. His music has been heard on ABC-TV, NBC’s Tonight Show, Broadway, BBC, TNN, CBC, OLN, and PBS.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on April 19, 2009 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church; the artists’ reception begins at 1:30. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas; at Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho; or online at Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for seniors and students.

Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for April exhibiting visual artists Dorothy Bowen, Patricia Forbes, Preston Photography, and Jeffrey J. Schmitt. The concert is generously sponsored by Lexus of Albuquerque.

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The facility is completely accessible, and free childcare is provided for families with children under six. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242). For more information, call 867-8080.

Clay Masks

Children in Capetown, South Africa hold their finished clay masks.

Vase by Daisy Kates

One of Kates’ vases she sculpted

Daisy Kates

Artist Daisy Kates

Signpost featured artist of the month: Daisy Kates

Dutiful pleasures

—Keiko Ohnuma, Signpost

Art can be a hobby, a job, a therapy, an outlet for ambition. Daisy Kates is one of those rare artists for whom it seems to be a practice, in the Buddhist sense of the word: the path by which one develops as a human being. That, more than any of the above.

Kates arrived at her calling early in life, then pursued it steadily and monastically—how she seemingly does everything. As an eighteen-year-old at the City College of New York, she took a pottery class and grew intrigued. The school wasn’t a great choice for art, she says, but it was cheap and close to home. By age twenty-one, she had her own kiln and pottery wheel and had taken off on a forty-year experimental journey.

Today you will find Kates at the end of a perilous dirt road that climbs a ridge overlooking Tecolote Canyon. Although she shares the road with her sister (artist Evey Jones) and a few other pioneers, her adobe complex has something of the hermitage about it—an arid Walden Pond, a peaceful hobbit hideaway that testifies to the little-known pleasures of being sufficient unto oneself.

Basically a single room that spans multiple levels, the house surprises with a sleeping loft atop the kitchen. A lower room serves as a small parlor that still bears a former exterior wall of real adobe. In a separate building next door is a large art studio flooded with light and 360-degree views, filled not with pottery these days, but with paintings.

From floor to ceiling, the room is tiled in colorful swirls, swishes, marks, and scratches dancing across sheets of paper strung on a clothesline, small canvases propped along shelves, and a large canvas beside a table scattered with paints—a visual diary of emotions, thoughts, and memories, a rich inner life that contrasts with the quiet abode next door.

“I turn on music and go intuitively, let it flow,” says the former potter. After decades of loading kilns, hauling clay, and struggling with the unpredictability of glaze, it comes as a great relief, she says, to just paint. “It’s so much simpler,” she laughs. And it’s not about creating something to show or sell anyway, at this point, though she has sold pottery steadily over the years.

“It’s never been about commitment to success,” she muses. “I guess the thing for me when doing artwork is progressing, feeling like I see some growth or change or… feeling satisfied, like I’m not stagnating.”

A no-nonsense, down-to-earth person, Kates radiates a natural calm that steps away from sweeping statements and conclusive pronouncements. The earthy medium of pottery clearly made sense to her—she built her house by hand without power tools or water, and mudded the walls herself every summer. “I looked around and asked a lot of questions,” is how she sums up her construction process. “Because it was a mud house, I felt like I could do it.”

Born and raised in New York City, “I always knew I was a country person born into the city,” Kates explains. Soon after turning thirty, she made good on a vow to “do the rural thing,” and in 1979 bought a piece of land near her sister in Placitas. She lived in a tent and built the one-room house in one summer, stuffing newspaper into the remaining gaps when the weather turned cold.

Her clay studio originally occupied the narrow landing at entry level, overlooking the kitchen. She used a foot-operated pottery wheel and kerosene lights, and heated the place with a wood stove—there was no electricity wired to the site until 2000. She hauled water from a spring for years until the well was dug, which was then powered with an electric generator. She still relies on what must be the cleanest outhouse in the West.

None of this was planned, Kates says, or undertaken to meet a challenge. “That’s just the way it evolved,” she shrugs, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to saw logs for your house by hand. “I think I’m just that way. For some reason that’s just the natural me, and for some reason I got to play it out.”

The same is true of teaching, her first job out of college and a career she maintained for over forty years, teaching art in social service agencies to seniors, kids, teens, all populations. “I definitely have a very serious ‘alone’ thing that I do, which is my relationship with my environment and the artwork. But I also have a social side,” she says, which was fulfilled through her social work. Never wanting children of her own, Kates treated her many students of all ages as a kind of extended family.

She retired from teaching about a year ago, right around the time she stopped loading kilns and switched to painting. The quiet hours now find her revisiting the person she was at eighteen, the one who never mailed in her Peace Corps application. Last spring, Kates decided to propose a project to the Amy Biehl Foundation to teach pottery in black townships around Capetown, South Africa, for six weeks.

“It wasn’t an ideal situation, but I pulled it off!” she exults, though the project ended up costing her thousands of dollars in travel and work expenses. “I would like to do something (volunteer) here, I can’t say what it would be. I try to keep my hand in that, giving something back. It’s a two-way deal, and nice to have a skill that I can give.”

Over the years, her artwork evolved naturally from functional to decorative to contemplative, including tiles, slip-trailed slabs, and commissioned murals. Her part-time teaching jobs always gave her a substantial life in the studio, along with the constant labor of keeping up her home and land.

But since retirement, “I’m in a zone where I don’t have to do anything. So it’s the question of the day,” she says of her art practice. “It’s an ongoing something to think about. I don’t have to go in there,” she emphasizes of her studio, testing out the idea on herself. “I have construction projects and the garden, or getting ready for winter—parts of my life are pretty labor-intensive.

“I kind of think (art) will always be there, because it has been, but… I don’t know,” she says disarmingly, clearly in no rush to arrive at an answer.

Once a month, Kates gets together with a few other artists—her sister, neighbor Laura Robbins (a mosaic artist), and others—to exchange constructive criticism of each other’s work. But even in society, she appears to be one of those rare people who follows her own inner compass—the quintessential artistic temperament.

No matter what people say about your art, she says, it finally comes back to you alone. “In the end, it’s just you and this thing you’ve done, and how you feel about it. In the end, it’s just about you and the work.”

A community of quilters: Thimbleweed Quilters and friends

Patchwork quilting is an indigenous American art form that has increased in popularity over the past thirty-five years. Once considered “just” a folk art, its consideration as a fine art has increased, as a 2009 article on the International Quilt Study Center & Museum of Nebraska’s website describes: “The group of quilts assembled for the 1971 exhibition “Abstract Design in American Quilts” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York is regarded by most quilt scholars as instrumental in igniting the quilt renaissance of the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition elevated quilts to the same level as “high” art by presenting them on the walls of a prestigious art museum and by comparing their graphic and painterly qualities to those found in modern abstract art.” In the last thirty to thirty-five years, quilting has grown tremendously in popularity, practically exploding in the 1980s.

This month, the Loma Colorado Main Library will present a show of small quilts in the auditorium at 755 Loma Colorado Drive NE in Rio Rancho. The exhibition will be held April 1 through April 29 during library hours and admission is free, with no tickets or registration required. A free reception will be held on April 4 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and refreshments will be served. Most of the works were created by members of the Thimbleweed Quilters, a group from Rio Rancho.

Many people have a favorite quilt, perhaps one that has been passed down through generations. Gloria Shapiro, one of the Thimbleweed group, says, “Almost everyone has a story in their family about a beloved quilt. There is something about a quilt that can’t be put into words. Even cats and dogs sense it. You will hear stories from quilters themselves about their pets always trying to lie on quilts.”

For information, call 891-5013, ext. 3030 or visit online at>.

Rebbe’s Orkestra to perform at Esther Bone Library

The Rebbe’s Orkestra will perform a concert of Klezmer, Sephardic, and Middle Eastern music on April 21 at 6:30 p.m. The concert in part will commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Orkestra is an exciting group of musicians from Albuquerque who have been performing in the Southwest since 1996 and play an international and eclectic variety of Jewish music and other musical styles originating out of the Middle East.

The concert will be held at the Ester Bone Memorial Library, located at 950 Pinetree Road SE in Rio Rancho. Free tickets are required, and are available at the adult information desk at the library. For information, call 891-5012, ext. 3128.

Placitas library calls for local artists and musicians

Calling local artists and musicians! If you would enjoy sharing your talent and expertise with children this summer, we would love to hear from you. As we do every summer, the Placitas Community Library will again be offering a Summer Reading Program for children. This year, the statewide theme is “Be Creative @ Your Library.”

Our summer programs will include the visual arts, music, dance, and drama. If you love working with children and are talented in any of these areas, this summer would be a perfect opportunity to share with your community. Our programs would be greatly enhanced with your participation.

If you are interested, please call the Placitas Library at 867-3355 and leave your name, phone number, and a general idea of what you would be interested in doing. A member of our children’s committee will get back to you. We look forward to a most creative summer.






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