Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


John Orne Green

John Orne Green

Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

Jim Fish

Jim Fish

Doris Fields

Doris Fields

Poetry series back for fifth year

Duende Poetry Series kicks off its fifth year with a reading by two of the organizers, Cirrelda Snider-Bryan and Jim Fish, and two friends, John Orne Green and Doris Fields. The reading will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 25, 2009 at Anasazi Fields Winery in the Historic Village of Placitas. The reading is expected to last until approximately 5:00 p.m., with the final thirty minutes reserved for an open-mic session. Admission is free.

For the second year, Duende Poetry Series has received a Witter Bynner grant to assist with publicity and honorariums and travel for special performances by out-of-town poets. Over the past four years, the Series has also been sustained by generous community support.

John Orne Green of Placitas has produced a CD of fourteen original songs (“Winds of California“); worked as a freelance science journalist with a book, The New Age of Communications (Henry Holt, 1997); and published fiction and poetry in such venues as The Red Rock Review, High Desert Journal, and The Exquisite Corpse online. Some of these stories, songs, and poems are collected in a self-published chapbook, The Bay, Saints, Foothills, Mountains, Sea. He’s currently at work on a novel (working title: The Rise and Fall of the Rotten Hottentots, an elegy in broken time) and has a book of very short fiction, The Man Who Ate Himself and other short tales, about to be published.

Doris Fields is a performance artist, a visual artist, and poet. Performing is simply fun. While drawing is meditative, sporadic, and soothing to her soul, writing poetry has proved itself an absolute necessity; it is critical, as oxygen and water, to her existence. Activist and poet Audre Lorde wrote that “Poetry is not a luxury,” and Doris Fields has discovered the absolute truth to that notion. Her poems cover a wide range of topics, and she has published in several anthologies. Doris Fields is a member of the northern New Mexico collection of eclectic poets called “The Live Poets’ Society.” She has read her work throughout New Mexico and in Colorado, New York, California, the Caribbean, and South Africa.

Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, inspired in her early youth by poet elders in the circle of her family friends, started keeping a journal of poems and drawings at the age of fourteen, a practice she has never stopped. She wrote her graduate thesis on the process approach to teaching writing.

As a teacher, she devoted a fourth of her daily elementary program to Writers‘ Workshop. She joined the Rio Grande Writers Project for its 1992-1993 season directed by Don Zancanella and later led teacher study group and workshops. Right after that affiliation began, she created her first chapbook, incorporating her poems and art, and now has four self-published collections. In March 2005, the Santa Fe Poetry Broadside ( published six of her poems and paintings from her collection Sandoval County Up Over Our Shoulders. In December 1990, her husband’s dream of starting a small literary press began filling her life. When their daughter was born in 1994 and with four books in print, she retired after nine years of teaching in APS and has helped her spouse with the press ever since. Last year, she coached her daughter’s mid-school poetry slam team. She is inspired by her family and the world around her, folk songs, children’s rhymes, e.e. cummings, the essays of William Stafford, Spanish poet Antonio Machado and the landscape of Aragon, Spain, as well as the teachings of E.A. Mares, Joan Logghe, Anita Skeen, Ivy Dempsey, Charlotte Stewart, and Gary Snyder.

Jim Fish grew up on a ranch is West Texas near the Mexican border, forty miles from the small town of Sonora. Inspired and encouraged by a high school English teacher, he started writing poems and short stories. He attended Rice University from 1967 to 1972, earning a B.A. and a Masters in chemical engineering. While at Rice, Fish continued to write poetry and short stories. He self-published a chapbook in 1972 called In Search of Fire. Fish attended Princeton University from 1972 to 1977, earning a Ph. D. in chemical engineering.

In 1975, he published his first major collection of poetry, Firemiles. From the summer of 1977 to the summer of 1978, Fish worked at the Instituto de Investigaciones Electricas in Cuernavaca, Mexico on a solar energy project sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Many of the poems that appear in Jim and I, published in 1980, come from this year in the Mexico. A number of Fish’s photographs and essays appeared in the monthly publication for the New Mexico Chapter of the Sierra Club and in Wildlands, a guide to the remote public lands of New Mexico. For two years, Fish worked as a freelance travel writer and photographer for Sunset Magazine. Other credits include a feature article in the in-flight magazine for Southwest Airlines and a short story published in Amelia.

Fish began making wine as a hobby in 1988. In 1995, he and a few friends founded Anasazi Fields Winery. The structure that he and his friends built for the winery now serves as the focal point for many local arts, music, and poetry events, including the Duende Poetry Series. The winery also serves as Fish’s gallery for his wood sculptures. For the past three years, Fish has been selected as one of the featured poets at the Winter Solstice Celebration at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. A new collection of his poetry, A Sense of Play, is scheduled for publication early January 2009.

The other three Duende Poetry Series readings for 2009 have been scheduled for March 15, June 14, and September 13. All of the readings will begin at 3:00 p.m. Anasazi Fields wines will be available for tasting and purchase, and books and CDs by the participants will be for sale. Snacks and non-alcoholic drinks will be provided free of charge.

For further information, please contact Jim Fish at (505) 867-3062 or or Cirrelda Snider-Bryan at (505) 897-0285 or

Photo by David Cramer

The 2008 Photography Contest at the Festival of Cranes, an annual celebration at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, has announced that "Lift Off" by David Cramer took top honors in the Professional Photography Color Division.

Additionally, a Juror's Selection Best of Show was awarded the image, which depicts a close-up of a red tail hawk about to take flight. The image was taken with an 800mm lens resting on Cramer's car windowsill. Cramer is a nature and wildlife photographer living in Placitas, New Mexico. He regularly leads photography workshops at the Bosque del Apache, as well as other areas of the state. His work and workshops can be viewed at

arb Belknap with her Portrait of Placitas 

Barb Belknap poses with her glass portrait of Placitas.

Barb Belknap with nicho glass.

A nicho set in an adobe wall provides hallway glimmer.

 Fanlight by Barb Belknap

Tiffany-style fanlight includes egret for bird-loving client.

Former Signpost editor reinvents herself—again

—Keiko Ohnuma, Signpost

Readers of The Signpost may be surprised to learn that, for longtime co-owner and editor Barb Belknap, this newspaper was actually an unexpected interruption in her chosen career as an illustrator and glass artist. It makes sense, though, when you consider that she always reserved a place in its pages—and her heart—for Sandoval County art and artists.

Now that she and her husband Ty have sold the business, Barb Belknap seems a bit stunned—not to mention glowing with calm—at the prospect of going back to her first passion, before the babies and bills dictated a life at the computer screen.

Belknap never imagined when she bought The Signpost from its original owner in 1993 that it would take over her life for fifteen years. She still had a hand in multiple art ventures, from animation to graphic design to custom stained-glass, sometimes doing several of these at once.

It was to learn computerized animation that Belknap bought a Macintosh in the early 1990s and taught herself graphic design. That led her to cartooning for the Signpost and designing the ads, which eventually led to buying the paper.

“It seemed intriguing, because I knew about ads (from working at an ad agency in the 1980s), and I knew a lot of people in Placitas, so I had a real solid resource base.” She also had three young children by that time, which made a home-based business ideal.

Her first home business had come after her second child, back in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s, when Belknap and some friends opened a storefront business that did custom stained-glass design and repair. Like many art majors, Belknap had sampled various creative careers after studying animation at Carnegie-Mellon University, but it was an unusual job installing stained glass in churches that ultimately stole her heart. Working with carpenters, artists, and monks in a rarefied spiritual environment, she grew fascinated with Tiffany glass, and ended up traveling around the East Coast surveying old windows in dusty church attics. “I always thought it was so beautiful, the light coming through the glass,” she says.

After her first child, Belknap turned to stained glass as a way to work at home. She and her friends ended up handling stained-glass work for the whole tri-state area of New York, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and she still had jobs on order when her first marriage ended and she packed up and moved to Placitas.

Back then, in the mid-1980s, the only residents of Placitas were old-timers, hippies, and dogs—in equal numbers—she laughs. It was her ex-husband’s hippie sister who found her a trailer to move into, and she reopened her stained-glass business at the El Zócalo in Bernalillo. There, she met a man who had a Rolfing business upstairs: Ty Belknap.

An old Albuquerque Journal newspaper clipping shows the two of them bent over tables full of glass in her Bernalillo workshop. The same scrapbook contains pages and pages of windows designed and installed by Belknap in homes and businesses in the 1980s and ’90s: windows of intricate etched snowflakes, realistic stained-glass nature scenes, and flamboyant Tiffany-style Art Nouveau.

“I’m a fast glass cutter because I always get so excited to get things done quickly, and I tried all different styles because of the way homes are,” Belknap explains. Ty had joined her in the business, and she recruited him again when she bought The Signpost and then created a new magazine called Albuquerque Arts.

“The idea was to do everything at once for both publications,” Belknap says—same deadlines, printing, and delivery dates. “I thought it was a lot of fun—Ty went crazy.” They sold Albuquerque Arts (which has since been sold again) to focus on The Signpost—enough to keep them busy while raising three kids… almost.

Barb Belknap’s creative energies only seem to grow more expansive with every venture. Sitting in front of a computer all day designing pages made her realize she needed a right-brain challenge, so she took up the violin. After persisting through four years of her sons running around with their fingers in their ears when she practiced, Belknap concluded that violin has to be started young. “But then I picked up a mandolin, and someone told me that it was tuned the same as a violin. I was so excited!” She became a “fiddle-style” mandolin player, and still performs in a women’s folk band called the LadyFingers.

In the meantime, Belknap also found time to illustrate a children’s book, cover the house in her original window quilts, design their two houses—from framing to plumbing to electrical, using the newspaper page layout program—do some fiction writing, paint, and install backsplashes in her own and her mother’s kitchen of mosaic glass tile. This last project, she’s thinking, is where she might focus her artistic energies next.

“I finally realized, you only have so much time,” she says with a smile—though it hasn’t kept her from incubating a new business plan, too.

Belknap can’t say where she gets her entrepreneurial energy, but she muses that “doing art gives you a lot of patience, and that has served me over the years.” Art has also served as a model for how to live her life: by design.

“That’s the fun thing, is to figure out how to reinvent yourself all the time,” she quotes a friend. “I feel really lucky to be in this position.”

It will be interesting to see what Barb Belknap invents next.

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

Local artwork on display

Starting Sunday, January 18, The Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Lynda Burch, Janet Burns, Sarah Hartshorne, and Judith Roderick throughout the month of January at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church.

Lynda Burch, a resident of Albuquerque since 1981, works with water media such as watercolor, acrylic, and gouache. She builds up layers of paint and paper, letting the work design and express itself. She has been juried into over eighty shows and has traveled to study across the United States and Italy.

Janet Burns works in printmaking and painting. The multi-award-winning artist has been juried into numerous exhibitions and has participated in a host of group shows and exhibitions. Her current work includes not only paint or ink on paper, but also on plexi-glass or canvas. She uses brushes, brayers, stencils, and a printing press to find expressions.

Sarah Hartshorne comes to art after four careers and living in many places. She works in oils and leans toward large paintings. Known for vivid colors and striking textures, she has had numerous shows in the Albuquerque area and has won several awards. She currently shows at the MoRo Gallery. Sarah captures “the unique in the ordinary, the beauty in the mundane.”

Judith Roderick started with oil paints and moved into batik and then wearable art, first in batik and later in silk painting. Twenty-five years later, she began working in watercolors, which she finds similar. She enjoys the challenge, spontaneity, and immediacy of working with watercolors. Judith enjoys plein air painting in the warm weather and works on paintings of cranes in the winter.

A reception for the artists will be held at 1:30 p.m. on January 18, 2008, prior to a concert by Willy Sucre & Friends. 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 the 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.

Project highlights handmade textiles for New Mexico Centennial

Do you have an old family quilt or rug that was made by your great-grandmother? Do you have the handmade christening gown that babies in your family have worn for generations?

If you have old quilts or other textile pieces, from garments to blankets, you can be part of a special project that is going on in conjunction with the upcoming New Mexico Centennial.

To participate, bring your item to Acantilado Vista Retirement Community (920 Riverview Drive; 896-3000) on January 24, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., when two local quilters will be here to photograph them and collect their histories.

The project is especially interested in textiles with a New Mexico history and those that date from around 1912, when New Mexico became a state. The long term goal of the project is to publicize and promote handmade textiles created with a New Mexico connection during the time of statehood. If your family was in New Mexico around 1912, the New Mexico’s Historic Textiles project is interested in talking to you.

This project is sponsored by the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Council and funded by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call Colleen at (505) 892-5673 or Donna at (505) 771-0018, or email

An afternoon with Willy Sucre and Friends 

On Sunday, January 18, The Placitas Artists Series will present Willy Sucre and Friends. Joining Willy are violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and Anthony Templeton, as well as Joan Zucker on cello.

Sucre is plays the viola and is a member of New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO). Mr. Zimowski currently is Concertmaster and featured soloist of the NMSO. Mr. Templeton is currently Principal Second Violin of the NMSO, where he has been performing for the last fourteen years. Joan Zucker is Principal Cello at NMSO.

The program will include: Mozart’s String Quartet in F Major K 590; George Gershwin’s “Lullaby” for String Quartet; and String Quartet No. 3 in B Flat Major Op.67 by Johannes Brahms.

The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church; the artists’ reception begins at 1:30 p.m. 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 the 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.


 Marionettes by Gustav Baumann

Freckles the Duendi, Juan, Dona Mala, and Miguelito the Donkey

Pulling strings: the marionettes and art of Gustave Baumann

After a lengthy and extensive restoration process, the marionettes carved by Gustave Baumann in the 1930s will be on view beginning January 30, 2009 through May 10, 2009 at the New Mexico Museum of Art in the exhibition “Pulling Strings: The Marionettes and Art of Gustave Baumann.“

Nearly all the puppets had to be restrung, leather joints replaced, costumes restored, and paint stabilized. This will be the first time in over fifty years that this number of marionettes and related stage material have been on public display.

The Baumann’s living room was the site of the early marionette performances. Gus, as Baumann was called, carved and painted the marionettes and with his wife Jane wrote the scripts. She also made the puppets’ costumes and helped perform the marionettes with the assistance of friends.

Since the performances often referred to local characters and events, their popularity spread beyond their circle of friends and family. For years, the larger community of Santa Fe was invited to attend performances just before Christmas. The marionette performances grew in renown and were moved to St. Francis auditorium and other public venues.

In the manner Baumann carved, painted, and articulated the puppets, he gave each one its own personality. A puppet with many moving parts could suggest activity, Freckles and Wart, for example; and by giving Miguelito the burro fewer moving parts, the puppet seems to have a solid, steady character. The marionettes vary a great deal in size because they represent a wide range of people and animals (and even a dancing banana tree). The largest are about twenty-four inches tall and the smallest about three inches.

Gustave Baumann (1881-1971) learned his wood-carving skills after his family emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1891. At sixteen, Baumann apprenticed in a commercial printmaking shop in Chicago to learn the trade. Eager to know more about fine art, he enrolled in 1905 in the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Munich, Germany, where he practiced and perfected his printmaking skills. Baumann demonstrated his ability in wood carving at this time when he produced a Bavarian village complete with hand-carved toys representing the townsfolk.

In 1918, Baumann moved to Santa Fe and worked in the basement of the New Mexico Museum of Art on his woodcut prints, for which he is best known. After his marriage to the singer and actress Jane Henderson in 1925, and the arrival of their daughter Ann in 1927, Baumann and his family in 1931 began to create their marionette theater. Intended in large part to entertain their daughter and friends, the marionette theater became an important part of their creative lives.

After Baumann’s death in 1971, Jane and Ann gifted the marionettes, stage materials, and related items to the New Mexico Museum of Art. In addition, they and other Baumann supporters donated a vast selection of Baumann’s prints, paintings, and drawings to the museum, making the collection the largest in the world.

The museum continues the Baumann holiday tradition with marionette productions in St. Francis auditorium just before Christmas for the public. The marionettes used are exact replicas created so that the Baumann family’s gift to Santa Fe and the world can continue to be enjoyed.

Exhibition curator Tim Rodgers, Ph.D., said, “Working with conservators to restore the marionettes and other materials has been very exciting. To see the marionettes ‘live’ again has been quite rewarding. And to view them showcased in their proper homes has given me a deep appreciation for the artistry of Baumann and his family.”

Performances of the replicate marionettes will take place the first Sunday of each month during the run of “Pulling Strings: The Marionettes and Art of Gustave Baumann.“ The first puppet performances are Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Visitors will be able to view a video showing excerpts from past marionette performances and the complex conservation work that was done to get the marionettes ready for display. In addition to the staged marionettes, “Pulling Strings“ will present prints and paintings by Baumann that are part of the Museum’s collection of more than two thousand works by the artist. Baumann’s works produced in New Mexico that relate to the theatrical performances of the marionettes will be emphasized.






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