Down in the Valley
New artisans group plans a Mimbres Valley festival Nov. 3.
In addition to cattle and, in good years, baskets of succulent fruit, quality arts and crafts are flourishing in the Mimbres Valley. And residents who produce them are now banding together to help promote each other's work.
"We have a lot of talented people here in this valley, but we live so far out that marketing our work is a problem we all face," says Ruth Camp. Her conversations with fellow artist Amelia Gianelli-Cutler on the subject gradually radiated out into the community and brought about the formation of Artisans of the Mimbres — a group of valley artists and craftspeople whose goal, Gianelli-Cutler says, is "to promote the work of all types of artists in this area and make the Mimbres Valley more visible as a source of serious creativity. We are aiming to create a broader exposure for artists living here in the valley."
As a first step in accomplishing this goal, the group will be holding a Mimbres Valley Artisans Festival on Saturday, Nov. 3, with arts, crafts, demos and music planned at three venues in the valley: the Roundup Lodge, the Living Art Studio, and La Esperanza Winery. Items that will be on display and available for purchase include original paintings, photographs, custom jewelry, mosaics, botanicals, fused glass, fiber arts and more, all made by artisans of the Mimbres. In addition to the wide variety of handcrafted items available at all three venues, each will offer a special attraction: edible art at the Roundup Lodge, demonstrations by a Pueblo weaver from northern New Mexico at the Living Art Studio, and wine tastings at La Esperanza Winery.
"By 'edible art' I mean culinary art — not swans carved out of ice or bouquets of fruit-flowers, but good quality food served with an artistic presentation," says Peggy Platonos, who will be taking over the kitchen at the Roundup Lodge during the festival. "My husband, who was an excellent cook, used to say that food should please all your senses, and that's what the dishes on my edible art menu are designed to do."
At the Living Art Studio, guest artist Louie Garcia will be demonstrating traditional Pueblo spinning and weaving techniques throughout the day. He will have on hand samples of both historic and contemporary Pueblo textiles for visitors to view. Garcia says he began weaving at an early age, learning from his grandfather: "For me, weaving is a form of self-expression. It allows me to meditate while at the same time breathing life into a finished piece, while creating prayers for rain, beauty and balance in the world, just as my ancestors have done in the past. As my ancestors used materials that were available to them, I too use a variety of materials available to me, including my own home-grown cotton, sheep's wool, turkey feathers, natural plant fibers such as yucca, as well as synthetic fibers."
Garcia will be honored at a reception Friday night, Nov. 2, at Wild West Weaving in Silver City, and he will be giving a day-long, post-festival workshop at the Living Art Studio on Sunday, Nov. 4. For more information, contact Theresa Meehan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (575) 536-2211.
From 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Living Art Studio will have another noteworthy event going on, as the local Mountain Horse Singers perform intertribal powwow songs in the courtyard.
At La Esperanza Winery, their 2010 vintage Golden Muscat and 2011 vintage Malvasia Bianca wine‹both of which earned silver medals at the New Mexico State Fair Wine Competition‹will be among those available for tasting and purchase by the glass from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the festival. Made-from-scratch vegetarian pizza will be available to accompany the wine. An added attraction at the winery from 4:30 to 6 p.m. will be prose and poetry readings of original works by local writers, as well as performances by local musicians.
Mimbres Valley artist Narrie Toole says of the Artisans Festival, "It's a neat, unified effort by the talent that's in this valley to showcase what's available here. I'm happy to be a part of it."
Festival hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Roundup Lodge, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Living Art Studio, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at La Esperanza Winery. Brochures will be available with a map and directions to the three venues, and there will be roadside signs up in the valley on the day of the festival. For more information, call Peggy Platonos at (575) 536-2997 or Misty Blue at (575) 536-3374.