An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

The Gauntlet

The Woodsman mixes art with craftsmanship

John Ricca has been in the business of designing and building custom furniture and cabinets for over twenty-two years. He started in Jemez Springs in 1980, moved back to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, then on to Sedona, Arizona, and finally to Jemez Springs again. John does business as the Woodsman, and says that his home near Gilman Canyon offers a tranquil setting for the creative process of furniture making.

You might think that there could be nothing tranquil about a shop full of power saws, lathes, and drills, but the Woodsman doesn’t just mass-produce furniture. He prides himself on old-world craftsmanship, using no nails, screws, or staples—relying instead on joinery that employs mortise and tenon, dovetails and grooves. He does use whatever technology speeds the process and keeps his furniture affordable. John says, “My furniture is built to last for generations. I learned these techniques during an apprenticeship with my father, but a lot is self-taught. Experience is the best teacher.” His portfolio is impressive.

The Woodsman offers free in-home consultations to discover the needs of his clients by seeing what needs improvement or correction. He says, ”My designs have won awards in major home shows for innovations in which I make space work for you by moving wood around that space with flow and continuity. I tailor my work to according to my clients’ specifications and build something beautiful that will last, specializing in storage and concealments in a way that makes life easier. I use a variety of woods in designs and styles that range from contemporary to Shaker to Mission.”

John Ricca can be contacted at 829-3236, or on-line at


Art sale coming up in Las Vegas, NM

The twenty-fourth annual People’s Faire for the sale of handmade arts and crafts will be held August 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Carnegie Library Park, Las Vegas, New Mexico. The event is open to professionals and amateurs. For applications contact the Las Vegas Arts Council, P.O. Box 2603, Las Vegas, NM 87701. The deadline for entries is August 15.


Coronado Monument invites artists

Coronado State Monument is taking applications from artisans who are interested in selling traditional Spanish, colonial, folk, or religious art during special events at the monument. The upcoming calendar includes Spanish Heritage Day on August 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the Arts and Crafts Festival on October 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please call Angie Manning at 867-5351 or e-mail


Fine art gallery opens in Bernalillo

Barb Belknap

An opening reception for five artists—Gretchen Berggren, Julie Brown, Gloria Emerson, Wayne Mikosz, and Riha Rothberg—and for the gallery, was held on Saturday, June 15 at the new Katrina Lasko Gallery in Bernalillo. It was another chapter in the growing story of artists who are being drawn to Bernalillo for its eclectic ambiance and convenient location between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

The gallery is set in a charming traditional adobe home that rambles from room to room off of a landscaped central courtyard. The afternoon show engaged over 100 people who admired the variety of styles and media.

Abstract artists Wayne Mikosz and Riha Rothberg showed their individual and collaborative abstract oil paintings. Mikosz’s individual minimalist work contrasted with Rothberg’s softer, muted tones and edges. Rothberg showed a bolder intent in color and line. The pieces they painted together balanced their differences and absorbed many viewers in pleasant contemplation.

Lasko describes Gretchen Berggren’s work as “very minimal.” In this showing, Berggren had stained and painted bold-colored rectangular shapes onto square palettes of linen. Some of the linen threads had been removed, dyed, and resewn into soft and stable geometric patterns overlaying the paint swatches.

Gloria Emerson’s paintings embody vibrant color and movement in a more figurative style. She is a prolific painter from Shiprock who has studied at several schools, including the School of American Research in Santa Fe. Her work is collected by many followers around the country.

Katrina Lasko met Julie Brown through Emerson and immediately admired her work. Brown is known to mix stories with art, offering ceramic boxes that open surprisingly to reveal handwritten notes and letters. To further involve the viewer, Brown occasionally places rattles inside her clay forms and box lids. Her abstract sculptural ceramic vessels are generally smaller at the bottom and expand as they climb upward, hinting at the human figure.

Lasko is pleased with the gallery’s opening show and hopes for many more like it. The gallery will not represent a handful of artists, as is typical, but will offer instead a changing exhibit to give a greater number of artists an opportunity to show. Work from the various shows can also be viewed at La Puerta Real Estate Services in Placitas. Realtor Lucy Noyes said, “We are so pleased to have the privilege of surrounding ourselves with the fabulous art from the Katrina Lasko Gallery while sharing it with others. Please stop by our office anytime to view a small part of these wonderful shows.”

Lasko always knew she would be an artist. She said, “I never had any question about it. I just always knew that art would be a big part of my life.” She likes to call some of her artwork “narrative figurative,” meaning that it says something or provides part of a story. In her series of sculptures “Bound,” she uses lead, rope, wax, wood, and linen, and mixes figurative and abstract styles. The theme “bound” comments on relationships between people and the natural world and how people relate to containment in their lives. Lasko holds a BFA in photography and in painting and sculpture from the University of Nevada in Reno.

The opening reception for the gallery’s second show, “Earth Wind Fire Water,” will be on Saturday, July 20, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. with work by artists Berggren, Brown, Brussels, Cavanaugh, Emerson, Goodyear, Jacobi, Keats, Kirwin, Lasko, McCarthy, McGillicuddy, Mikosz, Peacock, Robbins, Rothberg, Shannon, Varjabedian, and Vavruska.

The Katrina Lasko Gallery offers a cutting-edge choice among the growing number of fine-art establishments in Bernalillo. The gallery is at 336 North Camino del Pueblo, and is open Fridays, Saturdays, and by appointment (867-2523).