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Art patrons stroll the Big Tent during a past Placitas Holiday Sale

Bunny Bowen

2015 featured artist Bunny Bowen

Traditions abound at the Placitas Holiday Sale art fair

—Nancy Couch

Like many good things, favorite traditions are abundant in New Mexico. People look forward to events where they remember fun times with family and friends. The best New Mexico art events stand the test of time and continue to bring locals together for a fun gathering with the artists. For thirty-four years, the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale has drawn people from far and wide to be a part of the magic that makes this show so special.

Held on the weekend before Thanksgiving, the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale brings together a festival that combines the arts and crafts of more than eighty artists, delicious food, wine tasting, and an art raffle that benefits the kid’s art program at the Placitas Elementary School.

This festive reunion is a signal that the time is right to start your holiday gift shopping. The artists have been busy working in their studios all year to create their unique artwork. The 34th annual Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale will come to Placitas on November 21 and 22, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Talented artists will fill the three central sites in the village of Placitas with a wide array of art.

The show includes twenty-nine artists from Placitas along with other artists from Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Corrales, Santa Fe, Taos, and Tijeras. Painters, printmakers, ceramic and glass artists, woodworkers, silk painters, photographers, gourd artists, jewelers, metal artists, and more will bring their incredible work to sell. Homemade clothing, leather goods, painted drums, pottery, hand-carved furniture, and much more will be on display at one of the three central locations: Site 1, Anasazi Fields Winery; Site 2, The Big Tent next to the Presbyterian Church; and site 3, Placitas Elementary School.

This year the Holiday Sale is featuring Dorothy Bunny Bowen as its special guest artist. A long-time Placitas artist, Bunny is known throughout the world for her process of rozome wax resist paintings of landscapes as well as her painted silk scarves. For the past decade, Bunny has been working with subject matter relating to transformation and change. She uses natural themes for her inspiration and expresses images in her art depicting the changes of a living forest turning to ash, or dry arroyos filling with debris-laden torrents. She will be showing her work at Site 3 in the School Gym.

The Placitas Holiday Sale has earned an excellent reputation in the past thirty-four years and has grown in recognition throughout New Mexico, becoming one of the “must-attend” fine arts and crafts shows in the state. This is a juried show and many artists compete for the opportunity to be in the fair.

The show draws people to the picturesque setting in the village of Placitas, and its cozy, fun, and intimate atmosphere. The size of the fair, which is limited to around eighty artists, is less intimidating than most shows of the season, giving patrons a chance to enjoy the splendor of the art and talk with the artists about their creations.

Site 1, the Anasazi Field Winery, has always been a popular and inviting venue with a large, heated wooden pavilion and a magnificent view of their vineyards and orchards. Jim Fish and his friends organize the parking so well, it is a snap to get in and get out. Homemade flavored organic goat cheese makes great gifts and goes well with wine sampling. Chile ristras, garlic decorations, and exotic honey enhance the mood with the colors of the Southwest harvest. For the wine-lovers, Anasazi Fields Winery will be featuring a new release of their American Cranberry Table Wine, the perfect complement to the holiday dinner. They will be serving delicious cups of hot, mulled cranberry wine. Hot Food by Little Smokies (salmon on a stick with lettuce and cheese, shrimp and chicken tacos, stuffed mushrooms, drinks) will be available for purchase.

Site 2, the Big Tent east of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, has a fun, festive feeling and becomes alive with laughter and conversations between artists, patrons, and friends getting together. The artists decorate their booths with their work, inviting people to come down each side to see what they have created. The clear window walls bring light inside the tent and illuminate the diverse artwork on display. The Chili Pepper Café at the church will be serving breakfast burritos, tamales, pulled pork sandwiches, beans, cole slaw, green chile by the quart, brownies, and drinks.

Site 3, Placitas Elementary School, is the largest venue of almost fifty exhibitors. Booths fill the gym and some of the halls, giving this venue a colorful and cheerful market-like environment. It is fun to discover the many unique treasures in the various school areas and you may want to take your time so you do not miss anyone. The Bernalillo Thespian Club will be serving posole, green chile stew, Frito pie, breakfast burritos, baked goods, and drinks.

The artists of the Holiday Sale have raised about $14,000 dollars in the past twelve years for the Arts in the School program. The Placitas Holiday Sale will be donating all proceeds from the raffle to this program to buy art supplies for the children of the Placitas Elementary School. The public can purchase tickets for one dollar for the chance to win a nice piece of artwork. All raffle items will be on display at the School.

Go to the website to become acquainted with this year’s artists.

The Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale is organized by several local artists and sponsored by the Placitas MountainCraft and Soiree Society, a nonprofit 501c3 organization dedicated to serving the community, the arts, and the artists.

Artists of the 2015 Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale

SITE #1: Anasazi Fields Winery, 26 Camino De Los Pueblitos

  • Terry Adams, Southwest and contemporary wall art and sculpture
  • Martha Alcantar and Gadiel Ramirez, varietal honey, Southwest decor and honey soaps
  • Sallyjane Bolle, wire wrapped minerals, fossils and gemstone jewelry
  • Andi Callahan, fine jewelry
  • Cate Clark, fused glass jewelry and mosaic sculptures and wall panels
  • Nancy Coonridge and Andy Coon, organic goat cheese from our own free-range goats
  • H. Cordova, primitive fired clay sculptures and wall art
  • Melicent D’Amore, ceramic pottery, clay jewelry
  • Jim Fish, wooden sculptures, walking sticks
  • Claudia Fluegge, hand-painted silk neckties, scarves, shawls, jackets, painted velvet scarves
  • Colleen Constance Franco, one-of-a-kind ceramics, stamped and painted crosses, mirrors, boxes, and wall hangings
  • Kathie Harper, large, high fired ceramic sculptures, indoor or outdoor
  • Linda Heath, southwest landscapes and classical still life oil paintings
  • Jeff and Kari Keenan, artisan small batch chocolate nuts, fruits, bars, and gifts
  • Das Lanzilloti, handcrafted jewelry using mixed metals set with natural stones
  • John LaRosa, multi-layered fused glass plates, bowls, platters, sculpture and pendants
  • Nancy Wood Taber, colored pencil drawings of animals and silver chain maille and animal jewelry
  • Betty Temple, Southwest paintings enhanced with original poetry

SITE #2: The big tent next to the Presbyterian Church, 623 Highway 165

  • Jeanine Allen, original pastel paintings on handmade surface, cards and ornaments
  • Dona Calles, copper repousse, etched copper and mixed media image transfers
  • Nancy and Jon Couch, glass water prisms, pyramid lamps, mandalas, and jewelry boxes
  • Deb Cusick, fused and stained glass, etched glassware, tables and sconces
  • Denise Elvrum, fused glass home decor art and dichroic, iridized jewelry
  • Dayna Fisk-Williams, Japanese Saori-style weaving, scarves, vest, dresses, shirts, jewelry, gifts
  • Olaf Heintz, fine wood small furniture and home accessories, rocking chairs, tables and cabinets
  • Joan Hellquist, wildlife images hand painted on drums and wildlife photography on canvas
  • Elizabeth Jenkins, hand woven clothing and silk scarves
  • Lazaro Gutierrez and Aurelia Gutierrez, hand crafted jewelry of silver, brass and copper with semi, precious stones and inlay
  • Sarena Mann, paper mache mobiles and sculpture figures
  • Adrian Martinez, all-natural wood inlay pictures
  • Michael McCullough, acrylic and watercolor paintings
  • Dana McDaniel and Ron McGowan, mixed metal jewelry with copper, aluminum, pearls, set stones, and found objects
  • Richard Meyer, ceramic vessels, thrown, classic form, craftsman style
  • Kae Willow Milane, crocheted knit wire jewelry, wearable art and collage embellished postage stamp pins
  • Christina Miller, modern icons 2-D acrylic paintings
  • Karen Murry, quilted wall hangings and wearable quilted jackets scarves, purses and totes
  • Dana Patterson Roth, photography of botannicals, landscapes and people that get in the way
  • Jeffrey J Schmitt, hand blown and kiln cast glass
  • Kandy Tate, oil paintings of New Mexico landscapes, garden scenes and fun animals on canvas
  • Patricia Wyatt, watercolor, colored pencil and oil and pastels

SITE #3: Placitas Elementary School,  5 Calle de Carbon Hwy 165
In the gym:

  • Catherine Alleva, wheel-thrown pottery, mugs, bowls, sake sets and pitchers
  • Bunny Bowen, matted and framed batik landscapes, silk scarves
  • Sonya R Byrnes, metal outdoor sculptures, wall art and jewelry
  • Merle Dallison and Susan Probert, gourd art with inlaid stones and weavings
  • James M. Gay, scenic and floral photographs
  • Renee Brainard Gentz, wearable fiber art, hand-dyed silk scarves
  • Sandy Johnson, bold contemporary, mixed media jewelry and pins and bags
  • Sandy Kadisak and Michael Kadisak, handmade, hand-painted fine art functional pottery, Little People and Animal Spirits
  • Marta Lichlyter and Guy Watson, fused glass plates and bowls
  • June Malone, one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry and Christmas ornaments
  • Kay Marcotte, impressionistic style paintings of New Mexico
  • Melissa Merritt, New Mexico, nature inspired watercolors and mixed media paintings
  • Mardi Meshejian, custom made knives
  • Carol Mullen, collage painting whimsical abstract
  • John Newell and Brian Webb, aluminum jewelry and metal home decor art
  • Christian Olsen, hand-carved and hand-made beads, pendants, and clasps
  • Gwen Entz Peterson, serigraphy with Southwest themes
  • Riha Rothberg, crocheted hats and slightly skewed accessories
  • Jim and Rosalie Sacoman, ornamental tin punched, traditional and copper sconces
  • Glo Smith, kiln formed glass wall pocket vases, spirit women and sweater pulls
  • Aquila Stanley, fine gemstone and sterling silver jewelry
  • Nancy Wiedower, assemblages and collages from found objects and recycled materials
  • Fehrunissa Willett, glass collages, mirrors and jewelry

In the halls:

  • Maude Andrade, men and women’s bamboo cotton hand silk-screened clothing
  • Roxanne and Roger Preston, photographic images on giclee, calendars, and greeting cards
  • Cindy Boe, gifts and accessories inspired by snarky vintage images
  • Elena Center, ceramic ornaments, nativities, crosses, angels, and luminarias
  • Bertha Costales, fiber art on canvas
  • Regina Dingler-Loria, wooden designs in boxes, bolos, key rings, and belt buckles
  • Myra Gadson, unique handmade jewelry designs
  • Mario Hinojo, hand-carved gourds, and jewelry made of cut pieces enhanced by beads
  • Mary and Karl Hofmann, functional pottery
  • D.L. Horton, petroglyph etched stemware and fused glass dichroic jewelry
  • Cathie Mayr, hand-woven and hand-sewn functional art, shawls, and scarves
  • Rachel Nelson, wreaths and ornaments made from pine cones and other plant materials
  • Carol Ordogne, impressionistic, colorful paintings, landscapes, and still life
  • Finley Rice, functional pottery, tea pots, mugs, platters, and bowls
  • Al Woods, angels, monks, and antique tin tile, mirror frames, and boxes
  • Karen Melody Shatar, hand-built porcelain pottery with glass glazes and fused glass accents
  • Bill and Madlen Tarlton, gourd art, vessels, kachinas, necklaces, and earrings
  • Laura Tuzinowski, recycled wooden cigar boxes and hand-made, hand-painted wooden trays
  • Geri Verble, contemporary tribal/ethnic jewelry

c. Laura Robbins

ABQ BioPark Dragonfly Sanctuary (detail), by Laura Robbins

c. Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

Honoring Catchment, by Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

c. Patricia Halloran

Sculptural mosaic, by Patricia Halloran

c. Barb Belknap

Abstract Coffee Bar (detail), by Barb Belknap

Signpost featured artists

Mosaic New Mexico: a new collaborative

—Oli Robbins

Placitas mosaic artist Laura Robbins pointed out that “mosaic” shares its root with “muse.” The former word is accepted to be a coming together of individual pieces of varying materials, while the latter refers to an inspirational source that spawns creativity. But, indeed, some cursory online sleuthing reveals that, etymologically, “mosaic” derives from the Greek mouseion—a place devoted to the muses, an artistic and philosophical school.

The creative and communal basis of the word is fitting for a team of New Mexico mosaic artists who recently banded together in hopes of establishing a setting for mosaic artists to exchange, grow, and inspire. Mosaic New Mexico aspires to “provide a forum that will allow members to develop as artists through communication and sharing of ideas and techniques, exhibits and gallery shows, educational opportunities and outreach, community projects, and alternative venues for presentation of members’ work to the public at large.” It evolved out of conversations between Robbins, Lydia Piper, Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, and Patricia Halloran, who conceived of a guild of sorts, which would foster collaborative projects, dialogue about, and education on, the medium, and ultimately, elevate public appreciation of mosaic art by promoting an understanding of it. Robbins and Piper soon reached out to fellow mosaic artists who shared their goals. Current members include:

Laura Robbins (president), Lydia Piper, Erin Magennis (vice president), Perri Yellin (board member), Marina Arbetman Rabinowitz (treasurer), Barb Belknap (secretary), Patricia Halloran, Cirrelda Snider-Bryan (NMMNHS Kiwanis Learning Garden Coordinator), Scottie Sheehan, Jill Gatwood, Erica Hoverter, Holly Kuehn, Kayleen Dowell, Cate Clark, Bosha Gordon, Daisy Kates, Lynx Lightning, Frank Simms, Sharon Wilson, Joel Davis, and Kyle Ray.

In the summer of 2014, Mosaic New Mexico enjoyed its first group show—appropriately themed “Pieces of the Whole”—at the Albuquerque Open Space. Robbins has arranged for an upcoming show, to be hosted by Matrix Fine Art Gallery and its director Regina Held in June 2016, for which the artists will create works inspired by water. The group foresees other meaningful shows and projects, some community-based and in conjunction with causes and places the group desires to promote or protect—much like the cooperative “Protect Our Wildlife Corridor” mosaics that adorn the facade of the Placitas recycling center. Says Robbins of the Wildlife mosaic project, which she co-led with Snider-Bryan and for which community members participated throughout: “It was a four year commitment, but a wonderful experience, as I believe the art brings joy to the community and shows art as activism. I was able to use art towards a cause and need I value. I also believe that practicing non-hierarchal collaboration is a good thing.”

For some group members, Mosaic New Mexico encourages the prioritizing of their own work and artistic development. Says Snider-Bryan, “Having the camaraderie of dedicated artists in my daily life deeply influences my expectations for more studio time.” Belknap similarly acknowledges the group’s common values and pursuits: “Having the camaraderie of artists working with the same materials is truly comforting. Knowing others are putting out their blood, sweat, and tears for the sake of beauty gives me joy. Art is important for humanity.”

Mosaic art is a somewhat under-acknowledged medium; it’s likely that more people can conjure up images of and ideas about painting, sculpture, and photography than they can mosaics. But mosaics are a very old art form, dating back at least four thousand years. The early roads made up of pebbles pressed and artistically arranged in the ground may be considered nascent mosaic art. In later antiquity, organically-formed pebbles gave way to “tesserae,” stones cut specifically (usually in the form of a cube) for use in mosaic compositions. The Byzantine era opened up more opportunities for the development of the art, bringing mosaics away from their previous placement on floors and onto the walls and ceilings of churches. Byzantine tesserae mosaics are exceptional, noted for their transformative light, achieved by means of reflective glass pieces that were often coupled with gold leaf. Islamic mosques also offer unsurpassed beauty with their geometrically and mathematically-conceived mosaics.

Says Robbins, “Traditionally, glass, stone, ceramic and tile were used, paying attention to shape and value to create pictorial pieces and designs.” While sometimes these materials were combined, historically, European artists tended to employ just one type of material per composition. Today, mosaics are comprised of any number of materials, and many mosaicists consider themselves mixed-media artists. The current integration of different materials highlights the basic symbiotic nature of the mosaic process—a process predicated on the merging of countless parts.

Mosaic New Mexico artists seem to define mosaics inclusively, and most believe that the materials can and should be varied. Says Halloran, “I think mosaic can be any broad variety of materials assembled as pieces to create a whole.” Belknap echoes this, “Mosaic is a collection of physical elements that make a statement. The size or shape of these elements doesn’t define mosaic to me.” Says Robbins, “Mosaics are whole pieces made up of little parts that are adhered to a substrate. Often it is a walk on the wild side. Sometimes elegant. Sometimes folksy.”

Mosaic New Mexico lists several objectives in its mission statement: “Develop the knowledge and growth of members by sharing information about mosaic techniques and methods, educational opportunities, supply sources, resources, and skills; Develop educational opportunities for Mosaic New Mexico Members, as well as the general public; Develop and organize regular shows for members; Develop and organize community projects; Utilize current information technology to promote Mosaic New Mexico, member artists and group activities.” The Mosaic New Mexico website provides a wealth of information, including examples of members’ work and short biographies, upcoming shows, educational events and resources, and a social forum. The website was built by Piper, while Halloran monitors the group’s Facebook page. Mosaic New Mexico is in the process of applying to become a not-for-profit organization—an endeavor spearheaded by Rabinowitz.

Mosaic artists of any level of experience are welcome to join the group by following instructions on the website, or contacting by Robbins at

c. Dianna Shomaker

Cowboy, detail, by Dianna Shomaker

Shomaker in National Encaustic Exhibition

Dianna Shomaker, a local artist who has been working in encaustic for about ten years, along with her mixed media, oil, and acrylic work, had the honor of being one of few selected nationally to exhibit in the Fifth Annual National Juried Encaustic Exhibition. Her work, “Cowboy,” is 29x28 on cradled board, and portrays her own unique style.

She says, “My goal when painting with encaustic medium, as with any other art, is to produce works that strike the viewer’s sense of exploration within shapes and colors that have a very organic freedom within the simplicity of the design, the luminosity of the layers, and the depths of opaque and transparent layers, but always with a veil of mystery and curiosity.”

In her description of encaustic work, it becomes clear that this method is not new. It is one of the oldest painting methods recorded outside of cave paintings. Currently, it is having quite a resurgence in art circles. The Greeks developed it centuries ago, using it to waterproof their fishing boats and later to paint images and portraits. Egyptians adopted it to paint portraits of the Pharaohs on their funeral sarcophagi. You see it in tombs and catacombs throughout the Middle East and in Nero’s underground palace in Rome. The medium is beeswax and damar crystals melted together with pigment and painted on board or paper while it is hot.

“Cowboy” can currently be seen at the Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe at 632 Agua Fria Street, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., during October. Shomaker also shows her work at the Corrales Bosque Gallery, 4685 Corrales Road, in Corrales. Open daily. To see her work online, go to

c. Dennie York

Southwest Mandala, by Dennie York

Placitas Artists Series November 2015 music and arts events

The Placitas Artists Series continues its 29th season on November 15 with Willy Sucre and Friends performing a pair of piano quartets. Joining violist Willy Sucre for the 3:00 p.m. concert are pianist Ivonne Figueroa, violinist Guillermo Figueroa, and cellist Joanna de Keyser. They will perform Joaquin Turina’s Piano Quartet in A minor Op. 67 and Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet No 1 in C minor.

The concert is generously sponsored by Mary and Dave Colton, and Joan Jander and Simon Shim.

Prior to the concert, a 2:00 p.m. visual artists reception will feature the art of Elizabeth Bogard, acrylic painting, collage, watercolor, and mixed media; Vicki Bolen, mixed media and paper arts; Laura Robbins, mosaics and cast glass works; and Dennie York, pen and ink. Their works, which are for sale, are on display from October 31 to November 27.

Elizabeth Bogard says: “My continuing fascination is portraying human figures in glimmers of everyday situations as they quickly pass before me.”

Vicki Bolen first learned the art of origami 25 years ago as a way to keep busy and create gifts for friends. She came to love the process of folding paper as something that always feels good to do.

Laura Robbins says: “Mosaic and Muse share the same root meaning; and I work to create art that speaks of connectivity and interaction. I am currently incorporating cast glass with mosaics and bronze.”

Dennie York is a Certified Zentangle® Teacher (CZT). Zentangle is a way of drawing repetitive patterns in a meditative manner.

The venue for both the concert and the visual artists reception is Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the village of Placitas, located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). The facility is completely accessible.

Tickets for the PAS concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert or may be purchased for twenty dollars in advance at The Merc Grocery Store in Homestead Village Shopping Center, Placitas; Under Charlie’s Covers Fine Used Book Store, now located at 160 S. Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo; or online at Tickets at the door are twenty dollars for general admission and $15 dollars for students with ID. Music students through high school are admitted free with a paying adult.

Placitas Artists Series projects are made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, call 867-8080 or visit

Monument Valley In The Snow, by Birgit Seeger-Brooks

Artist Birgit Seeger-Brooks at the Placitas Community Library

The Placitas Community Library is pleased to host an art exhibit reception on November 6, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., for Birgit Seeger-Brooks, a local Placitas artist. The reception is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Seeger Brooks says about her work, “In my pastel paintings, the female form is often present but the primary impetus is the creation of sensuous curves and joyous colors. These pastel paintings sometimes reflect emotional states. My oil paintings represent both traditional and non-traditional subject matters. Traditional painting techniques were explored to create realistic forms. The imaginary landscapes and Buddha paintings probe ideas about the relationships between the beginnings of our world and our place within the universe. Sometimes I just focus on the beauty of color and the spatial organization of the canvas.”

To preview her work, go to The show will be on display until November 26.

Albuquerque Baroque Players perform

—Mary Bruesch

The Albuquerque Baroque Players continue their 2015-2016 series with a concert featuring David Farwig, the first of four distinguished singers who will appear with them on this “Season of Song.” Dr. Farwig will perform cantatas by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier and Georg Philipp Telemann with the members of ABP, who will also perform instrumental works by Christopher Simpson, Antonio Vivaldi, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

The concerts are on November 14, at 7:30 p.m., at the Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, 4800 Indian School Road NE, and on November 15, at 3:00 p.m., at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales. Tickets are $18 dollars, $15 dollars for seniors (62+), and seven dollars for full-time students; twenty percent discount for groups of ten or more. For more information, or to reserve tickets, visit call 400-9385.

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