Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roxanne Swentzell

I can't even think about going to Santa Fe without visiting the Tower Gallery which houses the work of my favorite Santa Fe sculptor - Roxanne Swentzell. I remember the first time I saw her work it really struck me.  I immediately loved the curved, rounded feminine figures and their beautiful, smooth bronze and clay colored skin.  And just look at the toes - talk about expressive!  Although I couldn't afford a bronze, I did purchase her book the first time we visited (you can buy one on her website here or a bronze if you'd like!).

If you ever visit Santa Fe it is worth going to the Tower Gallery which is about 20-25 minutes north of Santa Fe.  Don't miss the great movie about Roxanne in the bottom room of the tower.  It talks about her life, how she became an artist, and her current work( and she is even a collector of heirloom seeds! - you just end up really liking her by the end).  In addition to her gallery, there is a wonderful museum with local artists work and an exhibit about life in the pueblo that Roxanne did all of the figures for.  I really can't say enough about how much I love her work - so inspiring!  Love it, love it, love it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bandelier National Monument

On our trip to Santa Fe we got a chance to visit Bandelier National Monument to see the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people (formerly known as Anasazi).  I highly recommend it if you get a chance to go.  It is so much fun to climb the ladders and crawl around in the caves. The main loop trail is an easy trail to take even with children.

We also took the Alcove Trail which led to a high cliff dwelling.  As you can see below, I don't recommend this trail for those with small children or people who are scared of heights.

Once you get to the top this is the view.

Then you can climb down into the man-made structure and it looks like this.

As you can see from George's face, we had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taos Pueblo

We also visited the Taos Pueblo on our visit to New Mexico.  The pueblo is nestled at the base of a beautiful mountain with a clear stream running through the middle.  I love the adobe architecture and the blue paint on the doors and moulding.  We took the guided tour and it was interesting the way the guide described the way the houses were in various states of weathering.  It seemed to me that without care these houses would return to the dirt they were made from in no time at all. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Santa Fe Trip - Peter Woytuk Sculptures

I haven't been posting lately because we took a trip to one of my favorite places - Santa Fe, NM.  There is something magical about Santa Fe.  I love the rounded adobe architecture of the buildings, the beautiful, sunny, low-humidity weather, and the abundance of art that never ceases to amaze at every turn.  And that is what brings me to these incredible sculptures. 

While driving into town I spotted these bovine beauties in the Ghost Ranch sculpture garden off Paseo de Peralta.  I love the way their soft curves suggest the gentle nature of the cows.  And just look at the way their front legs are tucked under their bodies - so cute! (I know I use that adjective too often, but c'mon you gotta admit they are so dang cute!)  The artist is Peter Woytuk and when I got home I really enjoyed visiting his website where you can view more of his wonderful work.

And of course I loooooooove, the bird scuptures!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vintage Embroidery Tablecloth

Last month I went with my mom to the Springfield Antique Show Extravaganza where I found this amazing tablecloth.  When I spotted it from across the booth I was immediately drawn to it.  I love the contrast between the cornflower blue and orange and the yellow makes the whole tablecloth so cheery.

And did you get a look at those gorgeous butterflies dropping in for a sip of nectar?  They are interesting because the maker purposefully left the top of the butterflies open to form a pocket.  At first I thought it was for a little weight to prevent it from blowing in the wind, but the tablecloth is only a 34'' square and so the butterflies lay on top of the table.  Then I thought maybe the butterfly pockets were to hold playing cards...and then I thought wouldn't it be so cute if you had friends over to play cards and you had a little card with their names sticking out of the butterflies!  Whatever the case it makes it all the more charming and I hope it brightens your day like it did mine.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bear's Breeches

While I was weeding my back yard today I noticed my Bear's Breeches are blooming right now.  I love the spiky bloom with it's dusty purple and green color.  As a former bear biologist I had to do a little research about the name.  I found a nice article on JSTOR from Garden History, Vol. 24, No. 1, Summer 1996, titled "The Tortuous Tale of 'Bear's Breech' the Puzzling Name for Acanthus mollis."  The article gives a very in depth theory that essentially says the name came from it's medieval name, "branca ursina."  They hypothesized that the bracts look like bear's claws - hence "ursina" and that "branca" morphed into breech over time.  Whatever the case, I think the name quite cute and the flower is lovely.

I also found out that it can be invasive in areas.  Although mine has gotten bigger over the years, it doesn't spread too much.  And I love that I don't have to water it - it even survived last year's drought.  Apparently it is recommended for xeriscaping because of that quality.   Another perk is that you can dry these for flower arrangements! I haven't tried it yet but will definitely post later if that works out.