Friday, November 23, 2012

Wednesday: Nov 21: Magical Day with Potters in Santa Clara

This pic of customers acting silly captures spirit of Moon Rabbit Toys
What a day!  Started out rather slow, with some desultory shopping, sort of like filling up the last nooks and crannies after a huge meal.  I spotted a likely-looking toy store (Moon Rabbit Toys)  and went in looking for things for Chloe and James (I seem to be doing all my Xmas shopping here) -- found some good things, but then the mail man came in and the owner announced the arrival of a new shipment of a game called "Space Checkers."  I asked about it, because it looked like something James would like and that we could all play, and a family who were in the store volunteered that it was their favorite game.  Next thing I know, I am sitting down at the play table with the mother and two kids playing a round so they can show me how much fun it is and explain what slight changes to the rules make it even more fun.  It's the kind of store where people come in and play with all the toys.  It was just lovely.  And of course I bought a set; I predict it may replace bananagrams.  And Neil will love it as it is quite strategic.  

I wended my way on towards Keshi-- a store specializing in Zuni fetishes that Angela and Z told me about.

Bushy-Tail by Jayne Quam
Check out the website!  It is wonderland. When you walk in they explain to you that the Zunis believe that each fetish has a spirit energy that calls to particular people, and so the pueblo has asked that none of the cases be locked so people can open them and touch the fetishes they are drawn to. I was worried that since the shop was so specialized, the fetishes would be way expensive, but instead they were surprisingly inexpensive.  The artists set their own prices, and since the store operates for the pueblo there are no extra markups.  Santa Fe is such a strange mixture of conspicuous consumption, suspiciously new age fake spirituality, and genuine karmic connection.  I fell in love with the work of a woman named Jayne Quam— she has invented a technique called "overlay" that creates very intricate designs.

Ace and Z picked me up and we headed up towards the Santa Clara pueblo, stopping for another magnificent meal at a place called Gabriel's. Ah, the many different variations available on enchiladas…

We drove into the pueblo to visit with Debra and Preston Duwyenie.    
They welcomed us into their home so graciously.  They've knocked out the back of the house and are  in the middle of a major kitchen renovation, so everything was pretty crazy; they are also preparing for the big show that I am missing on Saturday.  Of course, given my recent experiences in  renovation, we had a lot to talk about. (They very much admired the couple of pictures I had on my phone of the bathroom).  But we all sat down for tea and talked for about two hours.   Both of them are sweet and radiate that peace that comes from living the life you were meant to.

Not my picture-- much of pueblo looks like a fairly ordinary
 if rather run-down and dusty suburban development

Interesting discussion of financing problems on the reservation.  Because it is tribal land, no mortgages are available, and its hard getting credit for cars or anything else, even when you are award-winning/ world famous artists.

But some of buildings are very old

One of Debra's tiny sgraffito pots
Eventually we wound our way around to the pottery laid out on the table. I'm so grateful to Mike and Patti for giving me enough experience that I didn't look like a complete dunder-head.  Fascinating discussion of processes and symbolism. Debra's work is delicate beyond belief, and I'm really drawn to the natural imagery, but Preston's pots have this Zen quality of utter simplicity.  I bought one, for a breath-taking amount of money (actually quite sharply discounted). It's pure white with an inset silver ingot, both silver and pot inscribed with a ripple wave-like design that he calls "shifting sands" but which he also associates with water as well.  

Preston is really… quite, deep.  He's got that Hopi intentionality that Tony Hillerman talks about, a deliberateness and carefulness about every action.  As we discussed what became my pot, I would timidly essay some feeling or reaction or interpretation, and he would smile and gently confirm.  I felt like I was passing some test.  I feel incredibly privileged to not only have the pot, but also the experience of talking to people who are true masters.  Quite intense.  But also gentle.

We came back home via another pueblo, just driving thru the streets— the poverty and depredation of everything is so sad.   Drove all the way around Black Mesa, watching the colors change as the sun slanted down (Posted a picture on FB). As we headed home, the snow on the tops of the mountains around Santa Fe began turning pinker and pinker, eventually the whole range flushed rose, with the snow fields becoming almost iridescent. We stopped the car several times to take pictures, knowing there was no way we could actually capture the intensity or subtlety. Behind us the sky was striated with gold.  Left us all just saying wow after wow.

Black Mesa

The road by black Mesa from Santa Clara to  San Ildefonso  Pueblo is where Jim Morrison has his first traumatic vision

Came back to margaritas and a long discussion of all the writers Angela has interviewed (Salman Rushdie, A.S. Byatt, Jamaica Kincade …) (Her radio show is called New Letters on the Air)

I felt chastened and stupid for not paying more attention to her work, but have signed up for the podcast and am hoping she'll send me some of the older interviews.  She just got a big grant to upgrade the web site so that all the back files can be accessed.

Wow again.  What a rich day.  Going to be hard to come down enough to sleep.

Tomorrow we've got a date for Thanksgiving dinner, but we so enjoyed driving around today, that I think we are planning another road trip tomorrow, just to see more of the country.  We're compiling a list of all the things we haven't had time to do and see and making plans for the next trip, which we hope will include some of you as well (Judy and Cynthia— this means you, especially).

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