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Rod Daniels

Rod Daniel—fiber artist Photo credit: —Oli Robbins

c. Rod Daniels

The Approach, by Rod Daniel Photo credit: —Jim Carnevale

c. Rod Daniels

Pauline’s Ford, by Rod Daniel Photo credit: —Jim Carnevale

Painting with fabric—The art quilts of Rod Daniel

—Oli Robbins

QQuilting is one of the great American pastimes, a cultural staple since Colonial days. Historically, it has been a women’s craft—wealthy colonial women busied themselves with needlework, while women in the lower classes wove and spun materials to fashion clothing and blankets for their families. So, yes, quilting is an old art form. That’s part of what makes the fine-art quilts of Placitas artist Rod Daniel so outstanding. Not only is Daniel a male engaging with a medium traditionally dominated by women, his training in, and experimentation with, quilting dates back less than half a decade. While he’s been an artist and musician his whole life, it wasn’t until Daniel discovered quilting that he became the kind of artist who feels an ever-present urge to create, who allows art to take precedence over other important things like, you know, sleep. “With quilting, I just can’t stop… I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about my next project.”

Daniel is currently a band director for APS, so his days and nights oscillate between music and art. After growing up in South Carolina, Daniel went to college at University of Florida, then relocated to Washington, DC, where he completed graduate work in education administration at American University. For twenty years, Daniel was part of the US Army band, which played at the White House. As a musically-minded individual, he found fulfillment while in DC, but always had an itch to direct a band. He intended to retire upon moving to New Mexico ten years ago, but instead embarked on two new paths—one of which was entirely unforeseen. Not only did he finally become a band director, he located his true niche in the art realm.

Daniel’s world has been colored by the fine and auditory arts since his earliest years. His mom was a pianist who played for a dance studio. As a result, his childhood was permeated by the harmonies of music and dance. He learned the trumpet and piano and was taking drawing and painting classes by the age of six. In 2010, Daniel visited a seminar series called, “Empty Spools” in Monterey, CA. After having stumbled upon a class on appliqué quilting, led by fabric artist Susan Carlson, Daniel was intrigued. “I was just fascinated,” says Daniel, “because I’ve always been a visual artist, but never found a medium that grabbed me. They were painting with fabric.” The next year, Daniel enrolled in Carlson’s course, and was immediately enlivened by the process. Unlike many other students in the class, Daniel had very little training in sewing. But he did know how to paint and was willing to be free and imaginative. He applied his technical knowledge of drawing and painting to the quilting process so as to “make the fabrics speak.” Precision didn’t interest him, but the serendipitous relationships between different fabrics did.

Being a relatively novice quilter has actually worked to Daniel’s advantage. “With a background in drawing and painting—not quilting—I think I am more open to experimentation with fabric and more willing to embrace the loose feel of fabric collage than those who are skilled in traditional quilting techniques.” His process is very much like collage or mosaics, wherein he uses a fusible (like glue) to synthesize distinct pieces of fabric, and moves them around freely until his composition is complete, at which point he employs a mid-arm sewing machine to stitch. He frequently works with batiks due to their “luscious” patterns and colors that lend themselves well to blending. Daniel takes his time finding fabrics that will provide depth and dimension; he doesn’t seek out a fabric that looks obviously like a sky, for example, but rather one that will play an active role in the ensemble of pieces that become a sky.

In 1997, Daniel traveled to New Mexico for work—he assembled a conference here for an education association. Soon after, he and partner (and photographer) Jim Carnevale were anxious to return to the Land of Enchantment. On their second trip out here, they chanced upon Su Casa magazine, the cover of which read, “The Good Life in Placitas.” Thanks to Su Casa, they explored Placitas, and on their third journey out here, bought land. Like many visitors to our state, they were in awe of the “light, the bright sky, and the genuinely friendly people.” They knew they were taking a chance, but did so eagerly and with confidence. It’s no wonder New Mexico, and Placitas specifically, nurtured Daniel’s artistic self. He loves the ever-present southwestern images, colors and patterns, and felt his “creative juices” surging. “Placitas,” says Daniel, “almost feels like an artist ghetto—everyone I know is an artist.” He is inspired by the virtuosity surrounding him and often observes techniques that he was never before familiar with.

The three years Daniel has spent quilting have been productive, and if his early success and inherent talent are indicators, the future will provide Daniel with many opportunities to create and shine. He has connected with the Studio Art Quilt Associates and has shown his work in several venues, including the Texas Quilt Museum and the New Mexico State Capitol Rotunda. His quilts have already begun appearing in publications, such as Quilter Home Magazine and The Quilter. Last month, Daniel was part of a group show through Placitas Artist Series, along with Carnevale and painter Adrienne Kleiman, called “Three Artists, One Vision.” In this impressive gathering of works, a selection of Carnevale’s photographs informed the works of Daniel and Kleiman, so as to reveal the same image in three different mediums. The resulting images, effective on their own, are arresting when viewed as a triad; one image is brought alive by the other two. This process was a comfortable one for Daniel, who often uses Carnevale’s photography as a jumping off point.

Casa San Ysidro offers art lectures

The historic Casa San Ysidro recommenced wtih its popular Second Saturday programs.

The exhibit, consisting primarily of works from the Brooklyn Museum’s world-renowned collections, explores the private lives and interiors of Spain’s New-world elite, focusing on the house as a principal repository of fine and decorative art. In comparison, Casa’s furnishings and traditional art reflect life in the far northern frontier of New Spain and early Mexico and reveal how style, form, and design were important to individual craftsmen and regional workshops in New Mexico.

As part of the Second Saturday program, Casa San Ysidro: Gutiérrez/Minge House will open free of charge from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and following the 2:00 lecture from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., so that visitors and lecture attendees may enjoy self-guided tours of Casa’s rooms.

For more information about these events and Casa San Ysidro, go to, or call 897-8828.

Zachary Kluckman Georgia Santa Maria

Zachary Kluckman and Georgia Santa Maria—poets in the March Duende Poetry Series

Duende Poetry Series celebrates tenth year

—Larry Goodell

On March 23, at 3:00 p.m., Georgia Santa Maria and Zachary Kluckman will read at Anasazi Fields Winery.

Georgia Santa Maria is an Albuquerque native, born in the old purple brick “St. Jo’s” on Martin Luther King. She spent her youth at Ellis Ranch in the Sandias, where her family had a cabin, and where she developed a life-long love for nature. An early rebel, she was described by her elementary principal at Emerson as “the worst kid she’d ever known.” Georgia decided to take poetry seriously when her English teacher at Valley High School told the class that there had never been a woman poet worth reading. She has been writing ever since. She has been an active participant in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe Poetry Communities, reading as a featured poet regularly at open-mikes, and publishing in Malpais Review, Adobe Walls, Mas Tequila Review, and others. Her book of poetry, Lichen Kisses, was published last April, and includes some of her photographs. Photography has long been Georgia’s other passion, and she has had photos published by New Mexico Magazine.

Zachary Kluckman is a two-time member of the Albuquerque national poetry slam team, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and recipient of the Red Mountain Press National Poetry Prize. He publishes poetry in such publications as the New York Quarterly, Cutthroat, and Red Fez. He is an accomplished “spoken word artist,” as well as an Editor for the Pedestal. An activist, youth advocate, and organizer, he has been recognized twice for creating the world’s only Slam Poet Laureate Program and an organizer for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change, the largest poetry reading in history. As a youth advocate, Kluckman donates hundreds of hours a year to working with and empowering youth. His collection Animals in our Flesh is praised by Jimmy Santiago Baca among others, and his second collection, Some of it is Muscle, has just been released by Swimming with Elephants Publications.

For all Duende Poetry Series readings wine, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks are available. The event is free, although donations are encouraged. For more information, contact Jim Fish at the winery at or 867-3062. Or check events at the Anasazi Fields website. To reach the winery, turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos from highway 165 in the old village of Placitas across from the Presbyterian Church. Drive past stop signs, turn left into the winery parking lot. From outside Placitas, take I-25 to Exit 242, drive six miles to Placitas Village. Turn left opposite the Presbyterian Church. Everyone is welcome.

Artwork by fifth grader for Coronado Historic Site show

Landscapes from the Rio Grande

—Steve Cantrell

Through April 8, the Coronado Historic Site (CHS) not only has a new name, but also is working toward repurposing the space in the video gallery next to the gift shop in the visitor center. This space historically has been home to a set of black-and-white photos documenting the original dig at the Site including the removal of the original kiva walls containing many layers of fresco murals, and it is the space where visitors watch a short video on pueblo culture and life. However, since 2012, the video gallery has hosted several outside art exhibits starting with photos of New Mexico’s WPA art including murals by Pablita Velarde and Coronado Kiva artist, Velino Shije Herrera (Ma-Pe-Wi). Last summer, the gallery hung an exhibit of original wood prints by Raton WPA artist, Manville Chapman, and this winter CHS hosted an exhibit of beautiful Site photos taken by members of the Friends of Coronado. Because of the success and interest in these exhibits, the Site is establishing an on-going program of changing art and photography, both contemporary and historical. 

This month, the Coronado Historic Site is pleased to welcome some of our youngest New Mexican artists: Ms. Rebecca’s fourth and fifth graders of Montessori of the Rio Grande Charter School in Albuquerque. The paintings are of New Mexico’s vibrant mountainous landscape, with one from a student’s visit to Tahiti! See if you can spot it when you visit Coronado Historic Site through April 8, 2014. The art is well-thought out, very colorful and will lift your spirits. The students were taught by a parent volunteer, whose work with the budding artists is remarkable. 

Coronado Historic Site hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily except Tuesdays. The art exhibit is free, but the normal Site entrance fee of $3 applies. All New Mexico residents are free on Sundays; New Mexico seniors are always free on Wednesdays. Children 16 and under are free. For more information on the exhibit and Site, phone the visitor center at (505) 867-5351.

PAS calls for artists

The Placitas Artists Series (PAS) invites all artists and craft-persons, 18 years of age and older, to submit three electronic images of their work and a completed application (found online at by April 1, 2014, to be selected by a jury for a monthly exhibit during the PAS 2014-15 season, September to May. 

First preference is given to residents of Placitas and Southern Sandoval County, and then to all other New Mexico residents. The application .pdf contains all instructions. For additional information, contact Vicki Gottlieb, PAS Visual Arts Chair at 404-8022 or

For over 25 years, the PAS has been bringing excellent music and art to the foothills of Placitas. An opening reception is held on the day of the concerts; and selected artists receive publicity and a year’s exposure on the PAS website,

Call for artists—22nd Old Church Artfest

—Bev Darrow

On May 31 and June 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, the Old Church Artfest will celebrate its twenty-second year running. The Old Church Artfest is held annually the first weekend of June. The Old Church, church plaza, and a large tent are filled with artists and crafters. The work is original. Paintings, sculpture, pottery, gourds, fabric, weaving, metal work, and jewelry are some of the varied medium offered in this juried show. Music and a food vendor will add to the festive atmosphere. The Artfest is free and open to the public with free parking. Net proceeds of the show help with maintenance and preservation of the Old Church and programs of the Corrales Historical Society.

Deadline for artist entries is March 22. New Mexico Artists are eligible. Work suitable for entry can include paintings, mixed media, photography, folk and reclaimed art, ceramics, fiber, gourds, yard art, jewelry, woodwork, and other fine crafts are considered.

Call Bev Darrow at 301‐0042 for entry form or with questions.

Willy Sucre

Willy Sucre

PAS presents Willy Sucre and Friends concert and artists reception

—Patt Cain

On March 30, the Placitas Artists Series will present a concert by Willy Sucre and Friends, featuring pianist Sandra Rivers, violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and Julanie Collier Lee, cellist Joanna de Keyser, and violist Willy Sucre, playing piano quintets by Shostakovich and Brahms. The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. at the Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door, one hour before the concert, or may be purchased in advance ($20/$15). For further details see: or call 867-8080.

Preceding the concert at the church, at 2:00 p.m., a reception will be held for March visiting artists Barb Belknap (stained glass), Claudia Fluegge (fiber), Joanne Fredrikson (art quilts), and Lynn Peckinpaugh (watercolor), with a reception at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. Their works will be on display from March 1 to March 31.

To Belknap, the sparkle and twinkle of glass and light add magic to the world. Her creations are radiant with color and life.

Fluegge’s silk work is primarily inspired by the beauty of nature. She has a particular love for horses and a passion to paint them. 

By using contemporary techniques and a unique approach to color, design, and texture Fredrikson creates intricate quilted pieces that tell a story. 

Peckinpaugh wants her watercolors to be an oasis of peace and joy; she loves shadows, light, color, and the ability to capture a moment in time.

These artists’ works may be previewed at

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 or visit

Ruth Smith, master quilter

Quilt show at library

—Jo Anne Fredrikson

In recognition of National Quilting Month, nine Placitas quilters will be exhibiting their work, starting March 1, in a month-long exhibit in the Collin Room of the Placitas Community Library (PCL). The New Mexico Quilter’s Association (NMQA) is sponsoring the exhibit as part of its Fortieth Anniversary Celebration of quilting arts. A public reception is scheduled for March 14 at PCL from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. to allow community members an opportunity to visit with the quilters and enjoy light refreshments.

The quilted pieces will include traditional hand quilting, ‘modern’ quilting, art pieces on silk fabric, hand painted and embellished original designs, and contemporary pieced work. The featured quilt is a colorful cathedral window design that was pieced and quilted by hand by Ruth Smith, who has been a Placitas resident for 25 years.

The impetus for Ruth’s first quilt was to seek warmth during a bitterly cold winter when living in northern Ohio. She purchased two fabrics and a pattern from a local quilt shop and struck out on her own. Really wanting warmth, she sandwiched two heavy pieces of batting between the quilt top and bottom, with the result that it was too heavy to sleep under and nearly impossible to hand quilt.

Ruth has been a widower since 1992 and an avid quilter in all her years in Placitas. Her quilts are all created by hand. Her bed-sized quilts take up to a year and a half to complete, and you can see why when you examine the perfect tiny stitches.

Other quilters featured in the show include Maris Mason, Roseann Eakin, Phyllis DeFeo, Kathryn Weil, Judith Roderick, Rod Daniel, Patty Bracht, and Jo Anne Fredrikson. For hours and dates available to visit the show, check the PCL website:

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