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Geri Verble

Jewelry artist Geri Verble in her Placitas studio
Photo credit: Oli Robbins

c. Geri Verble

c. Geri Verble

c. Geri Verble

Spirited jewelry, by Geri Verble

Beading the spirits of history: The jewelry of Geri Verble

—Oli Robbins

For jewelry-maker Geri Verble, Placitas is proving to be an artistic Mecca. Not only did it offer her the land upon which she and her husband, Larry, built their dream home—modeled after Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West—it enlivens her and drives her to compose on a daily basis. Says Geri, “I can’t think of a better place to live. To me, it’s paradise, and I’m sure I would never be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for living here.”

Geri’s work is, in her words, “very nature-based and eclectic.” Like the structures by Wright that inspired her beloved home, her jewelry is organic and illuminates the relationship between beauty and function. It is not just aesthetic—although her pieces could be displayed as wall art in their own right—but is intended to be worn and felt, connecting the wearer to the rich history of the stones and beads.

Geri has been fortunate enough to have traveled the world, both because of Larry’s position in the Foreign Service, and her own five-year stint in the Peace Corps. And while she has grown tremendously from the worldly experiences granted to her, she maintains that Placitas holds her heart. “I’ve done all that,” says Geri, “and now all I want to do is sit and look at this mountain. It’s a wonderful place.”

Larry completed his PhD work in Los Alamos many years ago, and always wanted to return. He brought Geri along with him on several trips, but it wasn’t until 2000 that they finally made the leap and settled here. When they came upon a real estate listing for land in Placitas, they realized it was ideally suited for their home. Geri and Larry had been holding on to a 1997 issue of Life Magazine, which featured that year’s Life Dream Home, which itself was based upon Wright designs. They referred to the magazine, attained plans from Taliesin West, and began construction on their own domestic oasis. Inside the home are many Wright reproductions, from stained glass windows to sculpture to furniture.

Geri’s “past life,” as she calls it, was in theater, working as a drama instructor for 26 years at a high school in Alexandria, VA. Among her students were two actors who have now found widespread fame in television and film: Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friends Wedding, The Grey, About Schmidt, Jobs) and Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show, Office Space, Ice Age). While Geri directed musicals for casts of 100s, designed sets and costumes, and managed makeup and lighting, she was touching many individuals and bringing joy to the community. But she was also developing her sense of composition—by looking at a variety of distinct things (be them individuals, costumes, or objects) and piecing them together to create something artfully unified. She didn’t know these skills would come back to her years later as a jewelry designer, but life tends to prep us for such fortuitous surprises.

After teaching, when Geri and Larry were living overseas in Germany and then Hungary, Geri worked in personnel at the embassies and consulates, hiring direct-hire Americans and Foreign Service Nationals. Her then-supervisor later landed a position as a Staffing Analyst at the Peace Corps, and when she left, she recommended Geri for her job. The Peace Corps was such a wonderful job, explains Geri, that the program installed a five-year rule, demanding that employees leave after five years, because if you didn’t have to, “you’d just stay there.” The Peace Corps not only introduced Geri to inspirational people, it exposed her to art’s many roles. She saw first-hand that art functions in realms far beyond the visual in many “non-Western” cultures. And lucky for her, she met people who are still posted all over the world, and who bring her back beads that are hard to come by outside of their home countries.

Geri’s jewelry is indelibly connected to the traditions and history that bred her materials, and the energy in each bead and charm is palpable. For example, she incorporates charms of the nomadic Tuareg people from Niger, which look like crosses and are worn to indicate from where an individual comes. She is forever indebted to the people she met while living abroad—and it is the African people, particularly, who touched her on a primal and spiritual level. She loved observing the African people who “related everything to nature and the earth,” and whose lifestyles and values are at once simple and profound. The Peace Corps was critical for Geri’s evolution as a jeweler who unites meaningful and culturally-diverse objects, but her move to Placitas was equally important. The land and the people here rouse Geri to create, and to explore techniques and subjects beyond her comfort zone. She is part of the Placitas art group “Creative Spirits of Placitas,” comprised of female artists of three different mediums who come together to discuss and support each other’s work. “It’s a way to get involved and immerse yourself in other creations,” says Geri. Geri is an active community member, who also belongs to Jardineros de Placitas, and volunteers at the elementary school to nurture the students’ awareness of and relationship to arts and crafts. Geri also donated 25 percent of her sales from the 2014 Placitas Studio Tour to the Casa Rosa Food Pantry.

Later this month, on October 26, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Geri will offer a presentation on African Trade Beads at the Placitas Library. She will be participating in the Placitas Holiday Show next month, and her booth will be inside Placitas Elementary School. Visit her website at www.tribalbear.com to learn more or set up an appointment. You can also view her pieces at Arte de Placitas and the Bright Rain Gallery in Old Town.


Jemez’s eleventh-annual 26-Mile Trail Sale

—Talty Robinson

The Jemez Valley in peak fall color will be the backdrop for the 11th annual 26-Mile Trail Sale, a yard-sale shopper’s dream that meanders along State Highway 4 from San Ysidro to La Cueva. On October 18 and 19, sellers will be set up in cluster (multi-vendor) locations in business parking lots and in individual yards.

The sale starts in San Ysidro at Mile Marker Zero and extends through the Jemez Valley to La Cueva at Mile Marker 26. This year, the trail sale has expanded beyond La Cueva to include Thompson Ridge to the north. Follow the signs.


THE STRANGER

In the curlicues of the state corners the dust devils squirm
the sleeping cactus rises with bruised thorns on its sides
the Easter scalpel falls cutting the Christmas cactus in two
the dew is dirty, the frost doesn’t come
the grasshoppers get larger incubating in the dirt
and the Indians’ polyester stretches laundromats further
than they’ve ever been stretched
as the songs dry out

the Anglo caravan streams cutting cross the state
and sinking to the sinking water table
to gamble there —
gambler’s hat is coming back
and the sky hangs like some defense
against the piñon-juniper dotted hills.

Dotted hills move slowly out of focus.
And the dream rushes, rushes
the dream rushes by —
literate as this dream
literate as I am
the fight irons out
the wrinkles in the landscape
the wrinkles in the dream where
the dot can be seen on the landscape
as it draws closer & closer
and becomes the stranger man I am
becomes you coming out from New York City
long ago becoming
one of us —
rosettes in the dream of sheer strength

quality takes over in an instant
and conquers
holding back the hordes from the north
the east the west
and
the south
where in an instant everything can be seen
clearly again
and hospitality waits for
the Stranger
over the prickly pears in the blood
over the distinct reality of the Crest of Montezuma
ripped off from the blue sky it’s set against
and replaced in a 3 dimensional totem
against that ultimate sweep of sky
I approach coming into Placitas
just hanging there —
little place of strangers
home, again.

 —Larry Goodell, Placitas


Longtime women artists of Placitas exhibit at the library

The Placitas Community Library is proud to present, Still Here, Then and Now: Women Artists of Placitas, 1940s to 1970s. This is an art and history exhibit by fifteen local artists who moved to Placitas between 1940 and 1980 and embraced the culture and beauty of the community in their works.

The participating artists include: Elaine Slusher, Susan Junge, Mickey Sewards, Bunny Bowen, Ruth Ives, Mary Hofmann, Evey Jones, Daisy Kates, Laura Robbins, Nancy Couch, Dana Patterson Roth, Wilda MacLauchlan, Lenore Goodell, Carol Kennedy, and Sally Hall. The exhibit showcases two works by each artist—one from the past and one current.

A brochure with biographies of the artists is available. The exhibit will be available for viewing at the Placitas Library’s Colin Room from September 27 to October 30. A free reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 11, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. It is open to the public.


Duende Poetry October guest readers: John Roche and Jules Nyquist

Last 2014 Duende Poetry series reading

To close out its tenth year of readings, the Duende Poetry Series of Placitas will present two poets on October 12, at the Anasazi Fields Winery, at 3:00 p.m. The series presents four readings per year in March, June, September, and one “floating date.” The two poets featured on October 12 are: Rochester (NY) poet John Roche and Albuquerque poet Jules Nyquist. The readings will begin again in March, 2015.

Nyquist is the founder of the Albuquerque Poetry Playhouse, where she leads poetry workshops and holds readings, especially for poets visiting the area. Nyquist’s poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies such as: Malpais Review, Adobe Walls, House Organ, The Rag, Duke City Fix Sunday Poem, Le Mot Juste, Prometheus’ Chair, Grey Sparrow Journal, St. Paul Almanac, View from the Loft, La Llorona Anthology, Mo’ Joe Anthology and Salamander. Her website is julesnyquist.com.

John Roche is not only a poet but an Associate Professor of English at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. He was the chief organizer of the 2010 Black Mountain North Symposium in Rochester and earned his Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo, where he studied with Robert Creeley and John C. Clarke. He also holds an MA from University College of Dublin, Ireland. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including: Big Bridge #15 (featured); Yellow Medicine Review, Flurb, Malpais Review, House Organ, Rootdrinker, Cedilla, Jack Magazine, Interim, Intent, Woodstock Journal, Burning World, Napalm Health Spa, Grey Sparrow Journal, Liberty’s Vigil: The Occupy Anthology, Hip Poetry 2012 and many others.

For all Duende Poetry Series readings, wine, free snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks are available. The event is free, although contributions to the donation jar are encouraged to pay the poets. For more information, email Jim Fish at the winery at fish@anasazifieldswinery.com or call 867-3062. To reach the winery, take I-25 to Placitas Exit 242, drive six miles to the old village of Placitas, then turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos, opposite the Presbyterian Church. After two stop signs, turn left into the winery parking lot.


(Foreground) View from Within, by Jim Fish, Ponderosa Burl on Mesquite Base; (Background) Intermezzo in Turquoise, oil on canvas, by Meg Leonard

Size Matters translates small ideas into xpansive creations

—Meg Leonard

An exhibit by Meg Leonard, Size Matters, will be on exhibition at the Anasazi Fields Winery from October 1 to November 16 and available for viewing during normal tasting room hours from noon to 5:00 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. We are hosting an artists’ reception on October 19, between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. For a private viewing, contact me at newmexmeg@gmail.com or Jim Fish at fish@anasazifieldswinery.com.

Anasazi Fields Winery is located in the historic village of Placitas at 26 Camino De Los Pueblitos, just six miles west on Route 165, off I-25 Exit 242.


ZOFO Duet

Tapestry, by Pat Dozier, Tapestry Five

Placitas Artists Series presents ZOFO Duet

The 28th season of the Placitas Artists Series continues on October 19, with a 3:00 p.m. concert featuring ZOFO Duet: Piano-Four-Hands, with Eva-Marie Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi. The eclectic program includes the Cuban Overture by George Gershwin; six épigraphes antiques for piano, four hands, by Claude Debussy; Etude from the Old Country by Terry Riley; The Milky Way by Urmas Sisask; and excerpts from The Planets by Gustav Holst.

The concert is generously sponsored by Robert and Shirley Ericsen.

Prior to the concert, a 2:00 p.m. artist reception will feature the art of Preston Photography, photography; Shirley Ann Sloop, jewelry; and TapestryFive, tapestry weaving. Their works, which are for sale, will be on display at the church from September 27 to October 31.

The concert and artist reception both take place at 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 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 at 120 E. Highway 550, Bernalillo; or on-line at www.PlacitasArtistsSeries.org. Tickets at the door are twenty dollars for general admission and $15 for students with ID.

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.

For more information call 867-8080 or visit www.PlacitasArtistsSeries.org.


Music Student, by Elizabeth Bogard

Placitas artist’s painting accepted

A portrait painted by Placitas artist, Elizabeth Bogard, has been accepted for exhibition in October at the biannual portrait exhibit sponsored by the Portrait Society of America and the New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque.

Each artwork accepted into the show must illustrate the theme of this year’s exhibition, “Face the Music,” and must contain a figure and a reference to music. The judge for this year’s exhibition is New Mexico artist, Iva Morris, an award-winning print-maker and pastel artist.

Elizabeth’s painting, Music Student, is a mixed-media, abstract, expressionist portrait of a female studying Beethoven’s Sonate Pathetique Op. 13 in E Flat. Elizabeth created the intensely hued painting with Chinese Joss paper, acrylic paint, and silk organza.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception at the New Mexico Art League on October 11, from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. The show is open from October 11 to October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The New Mexico Art League is located at 3409 Juan Tabo, NE, in Albuquerque.


Red Light Ramblers play Halloween costume party at the Range

Looking for some good old-time Halloween fun?  Local band Red Light Ramblers (redlightramblers.com) will play old time, fiddle tunes, and Americana music for your toe-tapping and dancing pleasure on Halloween night, Friday, October 31, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Range Café’s Lizard Rodeo Lounge in Bernalillo. The Ramblers and the Range invite you to dress up in your best Halloween costume attire and come on over. No cover charge. All are welcome. Food and drinks available for purchase. Lounge table reservations are recommended by calling 867-1700. The Range is located at 925 Camino Del Pueblo in Bernalillo.


Friends of Coronado Historic Site hosts “Fiesta of Cultures”

On October 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friends of Coronado Historic Site will host its annual, “Fiesta of Cultures.”

Fiesta of Cultures is a fun-filled family celebration at the Coronado Historic Site, featuring fine artists and craftspeople, Native and Hispanic old-world lifeway demonstrations, including traditional pottery firings by Zia potter, Ulysses Reid.

Activities for the entire family include those for children of all ages and a “hands on area,” showing artifacts of pueblo life. Also taking part will be several Conquistadors and a Mountain Man who will share stories of their adventures. Visit the Altar de Ofrenda in celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Spend an enjoyable family day along the River. Enjoy the vista of the Sandia Mountains while gaining fascinating insight into Pueblo, Hispanic, and early Anglo cultures. Get your holiday shopping out of the way early with the crafts and art offered for sale. Tours of the painted Kiva will be available all day, and the hiking trails will be open for your enjoyment.

Coronado Historic Site is located at 485 Kuaua Road and Hwy 550 in Bernalillo, 1.5 miles west of the I-25 exit 242. The event is free and reservations are not necessary.


CHS hosts annual Old Church Fine Arts Show

—Debbie Clemente

On October 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the opening reception of Corrales Historical Society’s 26th Old Church Fine Arts Show will be held at Old San Ysidro Church, at 966 Old Church Road, across from Casa San Ysidro. This event features many of New Mexico’s finest artists, all set in the beauty of the Old San Ysidro Church. Come meet the artists and get a jump on your holiday shopping with truly unique gift items. This year’s show features 36 juried artists who will showcase a wide array of art forms.


Quilt Fiesta wraps up in quilts

—Myrna Landt

“Quilts: Classic to Contemporary” is the theme of the Northern New Mexico Quilt Guild’s Quilt Fiesta. The quilt show will run from October 10 through October 12, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Held at Santa Fe County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Admission is five dollars per person per day at the door. Quilt Fiesta is a biannual event that spotlights the work of guild members and other New Mexico quilters. Visitors will see up to two hundred pieces, including art quilts and wearable art (garments), wall hangings, and bed, lap, and crib quilts. A gift shop will feature a variety of handmade items and quilted pieces.For more information, visit the guild’s website at www.nnmqg.org or call 660-3001.


No pressure book club in Rio Rancho

—Kathy Campbell

Do you love to read and discuss books? Would you like to have the platform to discuss a book but not feel pressured to speak in front of others? During the month of October, the Loma Colorado Main Library will be hosting the No Pressure Book Club. The featured book will be Pie Town by Lynne Hinton, the fictional story of a diverse New Mexican community, its longstanding residents, some new arrivals, and their struggles to accept each other. Multiple copies will be available for checkout.  After reading the book, you can leave written answers to discussion questions provided by the library and read others’ remarks, all at your own convenience.  Participate as much or as little as you like. There is no pressure.

For dates and times of the meetings, call 891-5013, Ext. 3033. Loma Colorado Library is located at 755 Loma Colorado Blvd, NE, Rio Rancho.

 
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