D  e  s  e  r  t     E  x  p  o  s  u  r  e     August 2005

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Fiber City

Silver City's hopping fiber-arts scene weaves together artists of all sorts.

By Jacque Cusick

Silver City is becoming a hotbed of fiber-arts activity, with an active fiber guild, new yarn and fleece sources, and study offerings. Mogollon Rim Fiber Guild, formed two years ago, has grown from a handful of fiber artists to more than 25 members. The guild was established to give weavers and spinners an opportunity to share experiences and learn new aspects of their related crafts. Short workshops in color, dye making, split ply cord making, knitting and crochet, as well as demonstrations in spinning and weaving, make the guild both versatile and a source of inspiration.

Meetings take place on the third Saturday of the month, except June and December, at 9:30 a.m. in the WNMU Fiber Arts Studio. Visitors are welcome and membership is encouraged.

Among the many projects that members are pursuing is the Southwest Women's Fiber Arts Collective, an initiative to connect individuals and groups in the southern half of New Mexico who are interested in fiber arts. The collective is preparing a printed listing for distribution. If you are interested, contact Charmeine Wait at 535-2613.

Knitting is "hot," too. A "Stitch and Bitch" group meets on Thursday evenings at Dan and John's Rejuvenation at the corner of Bullard and Broadway. Mattie Johnson has been fostering this gathering of experienced and aspiring beginners for two years. There is opportunity to learn or relearn stitches, gain the support of companion knitters, and catch up on the latest.

Spinners and wannabe spinners are invited to join a group that meets on the second Saturday of the month at 1 p.m. Since locations vary each month it is best to call in advance, 538-3138. Bring your wheel, spindles or other fiber activity. There is always room for more spinners, especially if you are a beginner. No dues, but let someone know if you are in need of a spindle to get started. If you are looking for someone to teach you spinning, contact Awish Baechtel, 534-3441, who will arrange instruction to meet your needs.

Silver City's new yarn shop, Yada Yada Yarn, has opened at 501 N. Bullard. Suzi Calhoun is providing an array of knitting and weaving yarns and tools of the trade. She will take orders for those special skeins you are seeking. Call 388-3350 for more information.

Kate Stansberger carries a small selection of knitting yarns and some interesting novelty yarns along with fabric and quilt-making supplies. You will find Kate making quilts or teaching in the Thunder Creek Traders shop, 1330 N. Hudson (538-2284).

For more exotic options, Llamas on Board Llama Refuge welcomes visitors to meet the llamas and trade for llama fleece; call 538-5761 to arrange a visit. Doc Campbell's at Gila Hot Springs, near the Cliff Dwellings, has Churro fleece and skeins for sale. The flock of a dozen or so sheep is among a few being raised by local ranchers who want to preserve this endangered breed. Doc Campbell's Attic Gallery carries a variety of hand-knit and woven goods, as well as gift items made by Silver City artisans. The gallery is looking for more individuals to expand their market. In Apache Creek, Nancy Robinson (533-6589) has Border Leicester and Suffolk, in raw fleece, as well as processed roving and batts. It is worth a trip to beautiful Apache Creek for fleece and to see this breathtaking area and the flock of sheep grazing along a forest stream. Call in advance of your visit.

Western New Mexico University's Fiber Arts Program offers classes in off-loom and harness weaving as a part of the Expressive Arts Department. While students in the BA and BFA degree programs take these courses, more often than not, many participants come from the local community. New Mexico Senior Citizens can take courses at WNMU for $5 a credit plus fees as space is available.

The Fiber Arts studio, just off the Chino Building parking area, is home to harness looms, two rug looms and a sizable Mexican loom. The fiber arts program is raising funds to purchase spinning, feltmaking and braid-making equipment. A dobby and eight harness looms may be added as well. The studio is open to visitors during class times. There may be instruction going on at that time, but come in and observe the class in action.

Weaving courses take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:15 p.m. in the WNMU Chino Building, Fiber Arts Studio. Registration is relatively simple at the Administration Building on West College Street.

Jacque Cusick teaches fiber arts through the WNMU Expressive Arts Department and is president of the Mogollon Rim Fiber Guild.


Seeing Tomorrow's Art Stars

Astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh would look kindly upon "A Summer Show" at the Tombaugh Memorial Gallery in the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 2000 S. Solano, in Las Cruces, Aug. 1-29. The exhibition of oils, pastels, watercolor and acrylics represents work from the Patio Art Gallery's Monday Studio, an ongoing art workshop under the tutelage of artists Carolyn Bunch, Julia Ford Oliver and Annetta Hoover. Bunch, a long-time acquaintance of the Tombaugh family, recalls vividly the appreciation the Tombaughs shared for the arts. The wife of the famed discoverer of the planet Pluto, Patsy Tombaugh, herself an accomplished artist, some 40 years ago helped to found the Las Cruces Arts and Crafts Association, now the Las Cruces Arts Association. She has been invited as the guest of honor at a reception for the artists on Sunday, Aug. 14, from 2-5 p.m.

Geared to each individual artist's pursuit and love of color, design and medium, Bunch, Ford Oliver and Hoover lend their expertise through example and discussion, encouraging the Monday Studio artists to complete work through identifying and portraying their own artistic concepts. Monday Studio Artists include Bobbie Barrio, Ann Beacht, Margaret Bernstein, Jennifer Goude, Bette Hall, Betty Hummer, Pat Jonker, Caryl Kotulak, Jean Smith, Frances C.Vescoso, Janice Walpole, Susie M. Watt, Beverly Wetter and Carlene Wimberly.

Carolyn Bunch will also be the featured speaker on Sunday, Aug. 14 at both the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Regular gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For information call 522-7281 or see www.uuchurchlc.us.


Johnson's View "From On High"

Three decades ago, painter Mel Johnson spent two weeks flying over the American Southwest. The result is a recent body of work, "From On High," that will be exhibited at the Las Cruces Museum of Fine Art Director's Gallery Aug. 3-30.

Johnson, a resident of Madrid, NM, says that he began the series of tactile acrylic on canvas paintings three years ago, evoking some of the images he recalled from those two special weeks in the sky. He admits that the concept had a long gestation period. One of the larger pieces was seen in last year's Terrain exhibit in the museum's Main Gallery. Johnson has created smaller works on the theme for the current solo exhibit in the Director's Gallery.

The Las Cruces Museum of Fine Art is located at 490 N. Water St. in the Downtown Mall. The exhibit is open free of charge to the public. For more information, call 505-541-2137.


Focus on the West

The Hubbard Museum of the American West is now accepting entries for the 14th Annual Fall American Photography Exhibition. Deadline for entries is Oct. 14. The exhibition will be on display in the Hubbard Museum, Ruidoso Downs, NM, from Oct. 29, 2005, to Jan.29, 2006.

This year's show will be judged by photographer Richard T. Bryant, whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, Popular Science and Audubon magazines. More than $4,000 in prizes will be awarded at the opening reception on Oct. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Submission requirements and entry forms are available online at www.hubbardmuseum.org or by calling 378-4142.

The Hubbard Museum of the American West is home to a large collection of Western and horse-related articles. It is the only museum in New Mexico that is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

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