A Year in Sante Fe Part 3
Written by Jim from Kath Guitars
Published in the February 2012 Edition
For those of you who haven’t been following this article, the goal here was to chronicle our first year in Santa Fe, NM. Santa Fe is the place in the United States to go for art, hand-made jewelry, custom-made southwest furniture and to meet some of the wackiest people in the country. As I’ve said before, this is where old hippies and burnt out ex-professionals go to weave baskets and live out the rest of their lives.
By the time you read this, it will be February, but as I’ve written this and taken the photos, it has occurred during the Christmas holiday season. It’s been a very crazy month; a month of things breaking. But, fortunately, our spirits are not among that list.
So, before getting into the cast of characters, I want to do some shameless plugging if I may. December was a productive month for me. I finished three full guitar builds and was able to ship them off to their new owners (those pics are below). One of them, of course the one that took three months to build and cost ten-thousand dollars, was broken by United Parcel Service; I still haven’t finished vomiting over it. Luckily it can be repaired and the customer in Louisiana is actually being very nice about it, so he shipped it back for me to fix it. We also had a car window break when I accidentally backed into a dumpster on Christmas Eve and one of our house windows exploded all on its own. The glass man said it happens here a lot with double-pane windows because it goes from hot to cold to hot cold so quickly.
So here are my guitar photos, there’s one flattop acoustic and two archtop jazz guitars. The reddish one is the one that was broken by UPS. The ironic thing about it also is that I have to re-lacquer the entire top, because they dented and gouged it. I ordered the lacquer so I can do the job and UPS lost the box with the lacquer in it. At least they’re consistent.
My wife, Maritza, has been doing very well selling her jewelry both at the Artisan’s Market and online. She stopped selling on eBay because the fees were horrendous. Online she now only sells on Etsy.com (LaLuna Ranchwear) and is doing very well. She’s so funny because she loves to make necklaces, but she keeps selling a bunch of earrings. So she’ll make ten bracelets and three pairs of earrings and sell all the earrings and one necklace. I told her that the universe is telling her to stick with earrings but she’s still fighting it. I always say that the business you start is never the one you end up in (excuse the preposition at the end, I’m from the States after all). By the way, for those of you that don’t know it, Maritza and I got married in the U.K. It was at Rowton Castle in Shropshire. Man, are the streets there narrow. But that’s another story, and a really funny one. Lets just say my rental car was returned with no side-view mirrors and I’m no longer permitted to drive on the main street in Clun. We rented a cottage in Clun for two weeks in order to be permitted to get a marriage license. We ate at the Sun Inn pub almost every night: Lovely people, lovely place and great food. But very narrow streets.
So, enough yammering, here are a couple of our friends from the market.
Well, she’s not only a friend but my wife too! Here’s Maritza at her booth not paying attention to me.
This is Joy, also known as the Yak Lady!! No, it’s not because of her hairy back, it’s because she domestically raises yak for food, clothing and just recently the bones and horns have found their way onto my guitars (I make the nuts and saddles and some of the inlay from Yak parts). Joy is originally from Australia but she’s been here long enough to be one of us, poor thing. She’s an amazing woman. She lives in a town called Taos (pronounced towse) which is a big ski area. She drives an hour and a half each way
This fine gentleman is Bob Hazeltine. We call Bob “The Glass Guy” (So now we have me, The Guitar Guy, Joy, The Yak Lady and Bob, The Glass Guy. You keepin’ up?).
Bob is one of the nicest and most talented people I know. And yes, for you glass-blowers out there, Bob makes a living from his art and nothing else. His work is magnificent. Last year there was an art show outside and a very large gust of wind took Bob’s tent and all his merchandise up into the air and slammed it back onto the ground. He lost almost an entire year’s worth of work. Bob prefers to sell indoors; that’s why he’s smiling.
Next up is Gabriela, or Gabby as we call her. She sells jewelry and has been at the show the longest. I wish I had a picture of them (but they didn’t come out) but she makes jewelry from tiny miniature roses and wraps them in a delicate cage of gold and silver. They are spectacular! She has even been written up in the New York Times (for her jewelry, not anything sinister). Gabby is a single mom and her six-year old son, Mario, comes with her to the show every week. She’s the one on the right doing the hard sell to a customer. You go Gabby!! Actually her work easily sells itself.
If you like dead things, and really, who doesn’t, Jon is your man. His work is so incredibly original that I’ve never seen anyone else do what he does. Jon is retired; he used to teach woodshop in the school for the deaf here in Santa Fe. Jon makes figures out of bones that he finds out in the desert. I bought one for Maritza for Christmas because she fell in love with it (I normally don’t buy my wife dead stuff, but…) The heads of the figures are skulls from raccoons and possum, the wings on these boney angels are from cougar and deer; the bodies come from Joy’s Yaks; they’re leg bones. If you’re a fan of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, then you have to have one of these figures. They are really quite sweet and lovely. And Jon is a wonderful man with great stories. (I have no idea who the girl in the blue t-shirt in the next booth is, but she’s so skinny she should be careful Jon doesn’t use her in one of his projects.)
This gentleman is Randy (I know because it says so on his sign). Randy makes hand-cast silver jewelry. His work is stunning; I bought my mother’s Christmas present from him. Actually, we bartered for it. Since we’re all broke artists we trade our wares with each other. Randy had a guitar that needed a lot of repair work, so, my mother got silver jewelry for Christmas. Aside from being an excellent jeweler, Randy plays and sings the blues like nobody’s business and his teenage son, Ben, plays in a local rock band.
Last, but not least, is Heather (she’s not the one with the glasses). Heather is the young lady that runs the Artisan’s Market and keeps us all from fighting over the door being open or being closed (I told you, we’re like people living under a bridge fighting over who owns the bridge). She makes great coffee too and puts up with all of us; which is no easy task.
There are about twenty vendors at the Railyard Artisan’s Market, but I only have space for a few. I thought it would be fun for you to see actual, real people across the pond who are doing the same thing that you’re doing. We get a lot and I mean a LOT of visitors from the U.K. so I hope one of you reading this has met us at the market.
If you’re interested in anyone’s work that you’ve seen here in this article, just drop me an email and I’ll hook you up!
May God Bless you all and we wish you much peace, love and happiness in this New Year!!
Jim and Maritza