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Love, art and chocolate

Rambling across the region

 

I’d be tender, I’d be gentle
And awful sentimental
Regarding love and art
I’d be friends with the sparrows
And the boy that shoots the arrows
If I only had a heart...


                   — E.Y. “Yip” Harburg

 

 

If you look long enough, hard enough, or closely enough, you can find love almost anywhere. It’s February, and the sages tell us love is in the air.

That’s cool and all, but I’m thinking just as much about the love that goes into doing things a certain way. A way that puts a person’s heart and soul into it.

Recently in Silver City, I saw that kind of love all over the place.

Starting with this month’s cover photograph.

The tiles represented on the cover were created at Syzygy Tile right here in Silver City. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the operation recently and was utterly fascinated.

Showroom Manager Patrick Hoskins refers to the team there as “artisan” employees. There could not be a better term for those people, based on my observations. At each step of the way, the artisans were quietly, thoughtfully, methodically working on their craft. If something was slightly amiss, it got tossed in the reject bin.

When I saw the heart tiles, and knowing the February issue of Desert Exposure was coming up, it seemed a perfect fit.

Saint Francis once said the following: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

Artists abound in New Mexico, a big factor in our state’s enchantment.

They’re not all artists and painters, however. Art can take many forms. Nearly any endeavor, when applied with the proper amounts of skill, talent, experience and, yes, love, can become an art.

For years, living in both Alamogordo and Las Cruces, I’ve heard of the Curious Kumquat. Unfortunately, on none of my visits to Silver City have mine and the Kumquat’s schedules coincided.

Yet I remained curious.

Before my last visit, I’d gotten word the Curious Kumquat was closed for a week, as proprietor Rob Connoley was traveling on a “pop-up” tour. Curious to what a “pop-up” tour was, I asked Desert Exposure writer Linda Ferrara.

She informed me Rob was on a pre-arranged mini-circuit, visiting various Southwest cities for a night or two, stopping mostly at people’s homes, preparing an amazing dinner for guests. How cool is that?

Linda further informed me my earlier information was wrong, that Rob was indeed back and the Kumquat was open.

So Desert Exposure ad coordinator Anna Lueras and I suddenly knew what we would do for lunch.

You know as soon as you walk in the door that not just food, not just cooking, is going on in the Curious Kumquat.

There is art going on and, yes, a little love.

We found Rob creating some chocolates that really resemble precious gemstones more than candy. Almost too pretty to eat. He was painstakingly spraying them with a blend of colored butter fat, which would dry to a stunning glaze.

Probably no one feels comfortable when they talk about gyros. Does anyone really know how to pronounce it? Is it JI-ro? HE-ro? JEE-ro? I don’t know, but when you eat it at the Curious Kumquat, you don’t give a care how it’s pronounced. It’s delicious.

Served on a pita, with cream sauce, organic greens, tomatoes, feta and guacamole, the gyro amazed me.

I thought I was doing great with the green-chile-loaded turkey melt. It was great, but when I tried the gyro, I went into another dimension.

I asked Rob about the pop-up tour. It was fun, he said, and financially fruitful for him, but also grueling. When I thought about it, I understood. Imagine making a four- or five-hour road trip. Then, arriving at an unfamiliar house and a kitchen. Unpacking all your cooking equipment and all your ingredients. Setting up and preparing a meal. Then getting up the next morning and doing it again. For a week.

However, I’m certain the people who enjoyed those meals created memories that will last far longer than a week. How about a lifetime?

Speaking of lifetimes, you could have lived a lifetime or two in the 78 years since 1937, when Home Furniture was founded by Nelson Wygant. The Silver City store remains in Wygant’s family and has occupied its current home at 307 S. Bullard St. for a big chunk of that time.

Wygant’s daughter Sudie Kennedy still has a hand in the store, though most of the day-to-day activity is handled by Sudie’s son Scott, his wife, Denise, and their daughter Kristen. I talked with Kristen briefly after they unloaded a shipment and you can tell there is love and dedication to the family business.

Chocolate is everywhere in Silver City, especially on Saturday, Feb. 7, during Chocolate Fantasia. Come overload on the cocoa concoctions and enjoy all the music, art, food and other great stuff that comes with it.

In Las Cruces, February is For the Love of Art Month, or FLAM, as I like to call it. Art of every kind explodes all over the city. If you take the time to slow down, breathe and observe, you’ll always be captivated by the endless creativity of the human spirit. These artists display it in spades.

Or, more appropriately, in hearts.

 

 

 

 

Contact us!

840 N. Telshore Blvd, Suite E

Las Cruces, NM 88011

telephone (575) 524-8061

 

 

email:

editor@desertexposure.com

letters@desertexposure.com

ads@desertexposure.com

 



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