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Judith Roderick

Cranes c. Judith Roderick

A love of cranes has helped Judith Roderick take flight. (above)

Two cranes on a silk canvas. (left)

Nature and art have woven the fabric of her life

—Keiko Ohnuma, Signpost

If Judith Roderick’s life had shape, color, and texture, it would be very much like her paintings on silk: brilliant but subtle, deep and translucent, folding and fluttering in the breeze.

She presents herself as a quiet librarian, with a chuckle like a grandma, but when her story unfolds it’s like yards of brightly dyed fabric, a wonder to behold. These days, Roderick’s passion is cranes. She left off exhibiting her art and had mostly retired from a long career as clothing designer and fiber artist. But silk painting, she never seemed to be able to leave. And the only venue that attracted her anymore was the Festival of Cranes at the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge, where she would spend hours sketching.

Things unrolled from there, as they always seem to do for Roderick. She wrote and illustrated two books of poetry on the cranes, traveled to the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin and to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Texas. Her house is actually full of crane banners, quilts, and paintings.

Whatever her passion, Roderick takes flight—so it’s no wonder that she settled on the avian aspect of a lifetime love of nature. A “skinny, gawky kid who could hide behind art,” Roderick was chosen to receive free art classes at the Carnegie Museum. A teacher who recognized her talent later convinced her to apply for a scholarship at what is now Carnegie Mellon University. There, she studied painting and design, the first in her steelworker family to go to college, and in defiance of her parents’ wishes that she prepare to be a good wife and mother.

Roderick did end up marrying and having children, and supported her husband’s science and military career for nearly half a century. But she certainly was no housewife. Her early passion for art and nature stayed with her always, leading (as they tend to do in women) toward pursuits increasingly commercial, then ultimately spiritual.

Of the art skills she learned in school, a brief stint with batik captured her imagination, and she found herself practicing the little-known wax-resist dye technique at their home in Alamogordo in the early 1960s. She made batiks in the kitchen and hung them in the yard, larger and larger, especially once pregnancy prohibited oil painting. A prize she won at the county fair was for a piece that measured four by eight feet.

At the same time, she started looking into how to spin, dye, and weave—skills she would end up teaching for decades to come. But it was batik that kept her sane once they left sunny Alamogordo for Ann Arbor, Michigan, the most dismal period of her life. She made batiks with her young daughter when they moved back West, to Colorado. And she was still making batik when they moved to Albuquerque in 1975.

The craft and folk craze were in full swing, and “people were just starting to realize that human beings could make things,” Roderick says. She started sewing clothes out of her batik prints using patterns from the Folkwear pattern company, and the Mariposa Gallery downtown began carrying her work in its two galleries of “wearable art.”

It was the start of a twenty-year run for Roderick as a pioneer of dyeing and silk painting in New Mexico. She discovered Tinfix silk dyes from France and fell in love with the brilliant colors. With Victoria Rabinow of the Santa Fe Weaving Center, they introduced the medium locally.

She still uses those dyes. “I love the way these colors flow,” Roderick says as she touches a brush to a translucent silk scarf stretched on a frame, sending a burst of color bleeding up to lines drawn with a rubber cement-like resist.

In the early 1980s, Roderick became a co-owner of Village Wools, as her hand-painted silk clothing made the leap from local craft fairs to high-end galleries. The wearable art craze was in full swing; at one point she employed three seamstresses at her large studio near Old Town, stitching up her gorgeous hand-sewn, hand-painted silk coats.

By the early 1990s, Roderick’s success presented her with a moral dilemma. She balked at taking the leap into cut-rate, large-scale production, and she felt qualms about producing luxurious products that no one she knew could afford. She started taking pilgrimages with her sister—first to Machu Picchu, a kind of conversion experience, then to “every sacred site in Mexico.”

Roderick sold Village Wools in 1992. She was done with being the fiber doyenne. “I was more interested in sitting at a pyramid than in teaching people to knit,” she quips. Ever in sync with the times, she started studying shamanism, practiced soul retrievals, and initiated a full moon drum circle for women at the dawning of the New Age.

Still, the silk painting continued. She would paint “power animals” for clients, or a Virgen de Guadalupe, or a Kuan Yin on silk. It had become the fabric of her daily life.

One day in the mid-1990s, Roderick woke up with the conviction that she had to move to the country. Much to her husband’s consternation, she bought a plot of land in Placitas to go and sit on. Before long, they moved there.

At that point, Roderick said, she stopped doing anything. For two years she would just meditate, walk around, watch the birds. “I learned to just be, which was weird for me. It was a useful time,” she adds. “I felt like I cleared a lot of karma. I figured out what was me and what was other.”

When the time came to step out, she volunteered at the Nature Center—and ended up painting silk scarves again for their shop. She marvels that she has come full circle, back to painting silk in her kitchen and fixing dyes in the basement, now that the children are both gone.

Her family appears only briefly in the story of her artistic journey, which apparently has much less to do with who she was outside than how a timid soul took flight. Externally, Roderick is a long resume of artistic achievements, a good wife and grandmother; inside, a timeless story unfolding across miles of silk:

“Our winged migration

Is integral to

The fabric of life on Earth.

We have danced this dance with Her

For Millennia.”


Placitas Artists Series

Willy Sucre & The Matisse Piano Trio to perform for Placitas Artist Series

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, The Placitas Artists Series will present Willy Sucre &The Matisse Piano Trio featuring Willy Sucre on viola, Katie Wolfe on violin, Anthony Arnone on cello, and Ksenia Nosikova on piano. Violist Willy Sucre is a member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the driving force behind the "Willy Sucre & Friends" concerts. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Sucre studied at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in La Paz; Colby College Chamber Music Institute in Waterville, Maine; Mannes School of Music in New York; and Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. He has been conductor and music director of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra; assistant conductor and assistant principal viola of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra; principal viola and guest conductor of the National Symphony of Bolivia, the Chamber Orchestra of La Paz, and the Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as viola soloist with the Albuquerque Chamber Orchestra and in Cochabamba and La Paz, Bolivia. As a chamber musician, Sucre was the founder of the Cuarteto Boliviano, guest violist with various chamber music ensembles, and for ten years the violist of the Helios String Quartet.

The Matisse Piano Trio was formed in 2004 by pianist Ksenia Nosikova, violinist Katie Wolfe, and cellist Anthony Arnone, faculty members at the University of Iowa. Their passion for chamber music has brought these three internationally acclaimed soloists together to explore the rich and varied repertoire of the piano trio. Ksenia Nosikova has performed extensively as a solo pianist and chamber musician in Europe, Russia, and both Americas. Katie Wolfe enjoys a diverse and exciting career as a soloist, teacher, chamber and orchestral musician on the national and international stage. She has performed in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, the Soviet Union, Spain and the Netherlands. Cellist Anthony Arnone is an active soloist, chamber musician, conductor and teacher throughout the country and around the world.

The program should include: Piano Quartet in A Minor by Gustav Mahler; Trio No. 1 for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op.35 by Joaquin Turina; and Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, op. 87 by Antonín Dvorák

The concert is generously sponsored by Priscilla Sears and YogaCrossroads, Inc. Preceding the concert, a reception will be held for March exhibiting visual artists Vangie Dunmire, Jerry Goffe, Diana Lee Martin and Judith Roderick.

The concert will take place at 3:00 PM on March 21, 2010 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church; the artists’ reception begins at 2:00 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 Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas, Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho or on-line at www.PlacitasArts.org. 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, and free child care 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.


c. Vangie Dunmire

Painting by Vangie Dunmire

c. Diana Lee Martin

Necklace by Diana Lee Martin

Reception for renowned artists in Placitas

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, The Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Vangie Dunmire, Jerry Goffe, Diana Lee Martin and Judith Roderick with a reception at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. The works will be on display from the first Saturday of the month of March through the first Friday of the following month.

While living in Yellowstone National Park in the 1960's Vangie Dunmire first began to paint. She earned a BA in art history at the University of New Mexico and continued her education with local instructors and painting workshops. She now focuses on watercolor. Although she paints mostly in her studio, she says that the best painting opportunities come when outdoors enjoying a special location. Her renewed interest in the Chaco Canyon Culture Historical Park has produced her most recent work. For many seasons, Dunmire served on the PAS Board of Directors as School Outreach Coordinator and she is a member of the NM Watercolor Society.

Jerry Goffe, after a career as a commercial photographer, has now directed his passion for nature and wildlife through photography.  He creates artistic images that reveal a wide variety of birds, animals and scenic grandeur under the clear New Mexico skies, as well as throughout North America.

Diana Lee Martin is an Albuquerque, NM, artist who creates beautiful beaded jewelry. Throughout her adult life, Martin has explored weaving, basketry, fiber sculpture, beading mirrors in the Huichol tradition, and now beaded jewelry.  Says she “My jewelry is fashioned using primarily glass seed beads of various sizes, enhanced with cut crystals, freshwater pearls and other accent beads. My passion for gardening provides inspiration for many of my designs, providing me with an opportunity to grow beautiful flowers year-round! As I thrive on the riotous colors of flowers in my gardens, I equally delight in the infinite colorations of the glass beads in my studio.”

Judith Roderick (Signpost Artist of the Month) attended Carnegie Institute of Technology as a Painting and Design Major and graduated from University of Michigan in Design. She moved to Alamogordo, NM, in the mid 60’s with her spouse, where she oil painted until pregnancy, and then worked as a Batik artist while raising children and moving around the country. Returning to NM in the mid 70’s, she started creating Clothing-as-Art, first in Batik and later in Silk Painting. She was an award-winning fiber artist who exhibited widely. She owned Village Wools for a 10 year period, and taught silk painting from there, from her studios, and from Ghost Ranch in Northern New Mexico. Moving to Placitas in 1998, she tapered out of the Art Scene, closed her studio in town in 2002, and has semi-retired into a slower, more meditative life.

A reception for the artists will be held at 2:00 PM on March 21, 2010, prior to a concert by Willy Sucre & The Matisse Piano Trio. 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 on-line at www.PlacitasArts.org. 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 www.PlacitasArts.org.


Richard Vargas

Poet Richard Vargas

Jason L. Yurcic

Poet Jason L. Yurcic

Rennie Golden

(left) Poet and headliner Renny Golden

Duende Series presents poetry event

Renny Golden will be the headliner for the second reading of the Duende Poetry Series of Placitas for 2010, on Sunday, March 14 at 3:00 p.m. at the Anasazi Fields Winery. She will be joined by two other Albuquerque poets, Richard Vargas and Jason L. Yurcic.

Golden’s book Hour of the Furnaces was nominated for the National Book Award for Poetry in 2000 and she has a forthcoming volume of poetry from the University Of New Mexico Press this fall, entitled Blood Desert: Witnesses, 1820-1880. She was also one of the authors of a biography of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated by the authoritarian right-wing government of the Arena Party. This reflects, as does her nominated poetry volume, experiences working with the poor in Central America, in particular El Salvador, during the Civil War in that country. Her poetry has also appeared in numerous magazines such as The Literary Review, International Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, Calyx, Borderlands, Texas Poetry Review, Explorations, Dogwood, West End, The American Voice, Americas Review, and the recently-founded New Mexico Poetry Review. She has won the H.L. Mencken Prize for Writing, the U.S. Human Rights Award and the Crossroads Women’s Studies Award. She was a finalist for the prestigious C. Wright Mills Award. Professor Emerita of Sociology from Northeastern Illinois State University, she is now an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Mexico. Additionally, she holds a doctorate from the Chicago Theological Institute and has published several volumes on sociological topics as well as her poetry.

Richard Vargas, who graduated from California State University at Long Beach, studied with well-known poet Gerald Locklin at that institution. From 1978 to 1980, Vargas founded and edited The Tequila Review, which published work by such well-known poets as Jimmy Santiago Baca, Judson Crews, Michael C. Ford, Nila Northsun, Nancy Mairs, Alberto Rios, and Dennis Cooper. His first book of poetry, McLife (2005) was published by Main Street Rag Press, and a second, American Jesus, was issued by Tia Chucha Press in 2007. Currently he is studying for an MFA degree at the University of New Mexico.

Jason L. Yurcic was born in Santa Fe while his father was in prison. His father was subsequently murdered. Educated in ‘the school of hard knocks,‘ Yurcic almost was caught up in the gang reality for the rest of his life but avoided the threat of jail himself, became a boxer at twenty-three, was mentored by poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, and became a seasoned poet. He has received acclaim for his work with poetry workshops in prisons, juvenile detention centers, and schools with at-risk youth. He has published three books of poetry to date: Word Son (Emaya Press); Voices of my Heart (Sherman Asher Press, 2007); and Odes to Anger (West End Press, 2009), which sold out immediately. His first play, Little Ghost, was recently staged in Santa Fe. He has also been featured in Albuquerque: The Magazine (September 2009) and has been a spokesman for the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy.

For all Duende Poetry Series readings, wine, free snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks are available to the audiences. The event is free, though we encourage donations for the poets. For more information about the event, contact Jim Fish at the winery at 867-3062 or online at anasazifieldswinery@att.net. The next Duende Poetry Series reading will be on Sunday, June 13 at 3:00 p.m. (Program to be announced.)

To reach the winery, turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos from Highway 165 in the old village of Placitas, across from the Presbyterian Church, go two stop signs, and then turn left into the winery parking lot. From outside Placitas, take I-25 to exit 242, drive six miles to the Old Village, turn left just before the Presbyterian Church, and follow Camino de los Pueblitos through two stop signs to the winery.

 

     

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