Monday, June 14, 2010

Mondays with Marly - Memories of New Mexico

By guest blogger Marly
Marly and Angie own and run Studio 28 in Waterloo, Ontario

It is dubbed "the land of enchantment." Little did I know how much I would come under the spell of New Mexico, when, in my early teens, I had the opportunity to be part of a work-study program at a school on a Navajo reservation near Cuba, New Mexico.  It was an incredibly rich time of learning for me. I fell in love with the wide open vistas of mesa, desert, and the smell of sage and pinon in the air.

I felt deeply touched by the rich Navajo traditions that held such wise, deep knowledge of spirit and nature. It is another world, so different than the one in southwestern Ontario. I still regard this time as pivotal in my life, a catalyst to many directions and paths that might not otherwise have been taken.

As the years went by, New Mexico became my summer destination, my muse, and my sacred place.  After a stressful and demanding year of teaching, I would shed my roles and obligations, pack up my tent and gear,  and fly or sometimes drive to northern New Mexico.  I would spend weeks living in nature, visiting galleries, drinking coffee (or margaritas depending on the time of day) on sunlit courtyard patios, retracing the steps of Georgia O'Keeffe or soaking up the alternative and art-filled lifestyles that seemed to be the "norm" there.  Such a freeing contrast to the busy, traditional, less colorful, "in the box" lifestyles found here in Ontario. I felt like my thirsty soul was getting a long, cool, satisfying drink.

Angie and I enjoyed spending some time there when we went on our year long road trip a few years ago. New Mexico still is a very special place to both of us.  So when the opportunity presented itself to go to Beadfest in Santa Fe this March, Angie and I couldn't resist. A chance to learn some new jewelry techniques, and to see New Mexico in a different season was an exciting prospect! This time, we decided to rent a little adobe house near the plaza called Casa Adore. We were greeted by Noel Bennett, the owner, resident artist, and writer (I just love those Santa Fe types) who gave us a delightful introduction to the house and to her favorite destinations in Santa Fe.  We had a few days to explore Santa Fe and nearby Taos and in many ways it felt like returning to home.

Beadfest was a wonderful mix of meeting friendly and interesting jewelry vendors and learning new techniques in workshops.We particularly enjoyed meeting the owners of Santa Fe Jewelry Supply who gave Beadfest participants a limousine ride to their store and treated us to mimosas and goodies. Great people...great business and we have added them to our list of favourite suppliers. Our two favourite courses were "Bodacious Bangles" with Kim St. Jean and "20 Minute Spiral Ring" with Lisa Claxton. Below is a picture of the bodacious bangles we made. It was fun learning the steps to make this copper bracelet.  The thick copper wire we used for the bracelet is actually electric grounding wire for houses. We were excited when someone gave us some that was left over from a job site. What a great opportunity to recycle!!! The bracelets we made are pretty simple because of the time constraints of the workshop, but we are looking forward to playing with more rivet designs and wire wrapping in the summer.

Lisa Claxton gave a wonderful workshop on how to create a textured wire spiral ring. It was fun to hammer in textures into the wire, ball up the ends, and twist it around a ring mandrel to make a ring.  I wear mine all the time! It was exciting to walk out of a workshop with new rings on our fingers!

After a busy day of workshops, we walked along the beautiful streets lined with adobe and pinon trees, and were greeted by beautiful luminarias as we arrived home. I know why they call it the land of enchantment. I can hardly wait for our next visit!

Oh and by the way, we'll be teaching our first workshop in spiral ring making next week. So if you hear a lot of noise coming out of the worries...its just a bunch of crazy women hammering textures into wire! Let us know if you'd like to come to a workshop and get in on the fun too!


holly k said...

such evocative writing! i felt like i was almost there, myself! hmmmm, marly....i wonder, was the wire hammered first, or after it was wound around the mandrel?

Marly Penner said...

Hi Holly,
Thanks for responding to my blog. I'm glad you liked it!
Have you been to New Mexico? I think you'd love it there!
We textured the wire first on a steel block with metal design punches, balled the ends, and then wrapped it around the mandrel. Lots of fun!
Take care,

Debé said...

Such pretty rings and a simple project to do. Did you use 14 or 12 gauge wire? I have to give it a try.

Debé said...

The rings are lovely. Did you use 12 or 14 gauge wire?

Ruth said...

They are 12G I think. Marly is away at the moment Debe but I've made some rings the same and I'm pretty sure we used 12G.