Santuario de Guadalupe, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santuario de Guadalupe, Santa Fe

March’s architecture feature isn’t a Utah building, instead, it’s the oldest shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe in the United States. Todd and I arrived too late in the day to get inside, so we appreciated this excellent example of Spanish Colonial architecture from the outside. The building’s adobe walls are three to five feet thick. It was built in 1795 and has been restored. It is now an art museum, holding the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s collection of New Mexican santos (carved images of saints), Italian renaissance paintings and Mexican baroque paintings.

Time to Apply to Craft Lake City

Now through May 27th, Craft Lake City is calling for artisans and crafters to apply at

The fee to apply is just $5.00, well worth it considering that the big spenders go out to this event. A jury of local artists evaluate the applications, and over 200 artists will be accepted this year.

The third annual Craft Lake City will be held on Saturday, August 13. 2011 from 2 p.m. to 9 p..m. at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City. The event is free and open to the public.

“Salt Lake continues to welcome Craft Lake City with open arms and wallets,” said Angela Brown, SLUG Magazine editor and Craft Lake City director. “With Gallivan Center construction complete, we expect the size of the event to double. Last year we worked with 131 artists and about 8,000 shoppers enjoyed the show.”

Craft Lake City is an outdoor arts festival that will showcase hundreds of local artists, specializing in handmade goods. Affordably priced items like silk-screened posters, reconstructed clothing, knitted items and jewelry will be available. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day and will include craft demonstrations, street performers, dancers and musical acts. Craft Lake City is modeled after alternative national craft festivals like the Renegade Craft Fair and the Bazaar Bizarre. The event is sponsored by the Gallivan Center and hosted by SLUG Magazine. The event is sponsored by

To stay abreast of the event, follow it on Facebook and twitter.

Chuck Close Forgot His Own Face

Self Portrait
Self Portrait

It’s amazing to me that Chuck Close, who became famous for his super-sized photo-realistic portraits of himself and his friends, suffers from prosopagnosia… that is, he is face blind. I recently heard him interviewed, and when he describes his condition he says he sees other people as an “unrecognizable collages of noses, lips, eyes, and ears.” He went on to explain that it is easier for him to recognize static flattened out pictures and photos, but in day-to-day life, when someone “moves their head one half inch, it’s a face I’ve never seen before.”

"Mark" by Chuck Close

Chuck Close needs an assistant to help him in his studio while he paints,because in 1988 he suffered a seizure that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He has regained some motor control and learned how to paint again, but still needs help. Even though he works with his assistant daily, he is still often caught off-guard and wonders who the stranger is with him in his studio, because he cant recognize them from moment to moment. Actually going out in public and socializing can be very confusing, although Close says he has learned to deal with it through humor.

Chuck Close thinks he has always had this condition, even though it wasn’t diagnosed until he was older. I find it kinda cool, him turning faces into landscapes, trying to recreate and understand something through his artwork that he just will never quite get perceptually.

Mary Cassatt

Mary Stevenson Cassatt was born in the late 1800s and died in 1926. She was the only American woman accepted into the Impressionist’s special club. I’m not a fan of Impressionism, I much prefer later styles like cubism and surealism. However, when I see a Cassatt painting, I want to cry.

As a child, growing up in the heart of the homeland of Mormonism, Mary Cassatt’s idealistic mother and child images were some of the first and only artwork I was exposed to (other than religious images). I saw this Cassatt etching in a gallery in San Francisco last month. I stood and stared, sneakily snapped photos and tried to think of how I could come up with $43k cold cash to bring it home with me. As Todd would say, this one is “perfection.” For me, its always about how the artwork makes me feel, and nothing else really matters.

Pioneer Techniques To Do A Tranny Up Proud

Final Rinse Purple
Final Rinse Purple

My friend Heidi Ferguson teaches book binding, knitting and dying at the Pioneer Craft House. I was telling her how the beautiful Princess Kennedy inspired me to make some bikinis for PRIDE, but I wasn’t pleased with the quality of the rainbow yarn they had at the store. Heidi said “Let’s die our own!” And so we did. Here is a rough guide to how to do it. It’s very fun and very messy.

Winding the Skeins
Winding the Skeins

1)      Wind skeins of yarn. I used a natural Lion cotton (only cotton and linen will work for this method) as well as a linen-cotton blend. We started by winding the yarn into small skeins using Heidi’s wine rack. According to Heidi, Peaches and Cream works better.

2)      We wash the skein in Synthropol, which cleans it up and removed any fat or grease.

3)      We mix up some fun print paste. It was fun because it formed a gel, but left little nuggets in the bottom that wouldn’t dissolve. They looked like gnocchi.

4)      We mix the colors – rainbow requires a lot of colors – and then add it to the print paste.

Paint the Rainbow
Paint the Rainbow

5)      We use a big paint brush to paint the dye into the fiber.

6)      We roll them up in Saran wrap and lay them down flat.

7)      Meanwhile we decide to vat dye some solid colors. We mix up the dye, water and paste, agitate it for 20 min, add sodium . . . um free t-shirt if you can find me the right chemical name. . . to stop the dying process and let it soak overnight.

Vat Dying
Vat Dying

8)      The next day, we rinse each skein 3 times with Synthropol until the water runs clear.

9)      We lay them flat to dry after untwisting them a bit.

It’s a lot harder to dye your own yarn rather than just buying it – but damn am I proud and satisfied when I look at those beautiful colors.

For more about Pioneer Craft House, visit their website at, tons of fun classes to try out. If anyone wants to do the bobbin lace class, just let me know, I’m in!

Messy Project
Messy Project

Carrot stew, it’s good for you!

"Food Friends - Carrot" by Dallas Russell / Easily Amused
The recipe below is one of my favorite things to help make. I do a lot of chopping, because that is one of the only things I am good at in the kitchen, but I don’t mind one bit because this carrot stew over lentil rice is so good. Put a little Sriracha on top with some humus, you’ve got a very tasty meal! One of my favorites. Thanks to Lynette Thorn for sharing the recipe with Anna.

Carrot Stew

2 T. oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium green (or red or yellow) bell peppers, cut in strips

2 t. hot chile (like jalapeño), minced, or 1/4 t. cayenne

4 cups canned tomato pulp or drained stewed tomatoes

1 lb. carrots, cut into thick coins

1/2 t. salt

Heat oil in a 3-qt pot and saute onion and peppers until limp, about 5 minutes. Add tomato, carrots, and salt, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat until carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. If sauce is too liquid, remove cover and boil gently to thicken; or remove from heat and stir in 2-3 teaspoons nutritional yeast, as needed, to thicken.

Brown Rice and Lentils

1 cup regular green lentils, picked through and rinsed thoroughly

1 cup medium or long grain brown rice, rinsed under cold running water thoroughly, until water runs clear

4-5 cups water, broth, or water + bullion cubes

Combine rice, lentils, and 4 cups liquid in rice cooker. If you use bullion cubes make sure they are dissolved before you start the cooker. Turn rice cooker to “Cook” and let it run its regular course. Check now and again to make sure it stays moist. Add up to one more cup liquid only if needed.

For stove top instead of rice cooker, combine rice, lentils, and 4 cups liquid in saucepan (2- or 3-quart). Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, put on lid and cook for about 45-50 minutes until both rice and lentils are tender but not mushy. Check every now and again to make sure it doesn’t get dried out. Add up to one more cup liquid if necessary, but you don’t want this to be soupy.

Serve Carrot Stew over a bed of the brown rice and lentils with a green salad on the side.

Makes great leftovers to eat at work the next day.

Woodworking Tradition – the art of Dave Borba

Dave Borba
Dave Borba

One of these days I’m going to have a wake for Palmer’s Gallery. I loved that place. We met a lot of great friends via that gallery. One such friend who we first encountered at Palmer’s is Dave Borba. We’ve stayed in touch and go out to each other’s openings and shows as often as we can.

Old Shepp's Hammer Claw
Old Shepp's Hammer Claw

Dave has done just about every kind of creative work, from illustration to photography. His recent projects have mainly been made through wood working, which he learned to do as a kid. Even though they hang on a wall, Dave hopes you will do more than just look at them. Reach out and pull a lever and the hillbilly dog will move her jaw like she is singing. Tug a key and watch the beautiful little heart’s wings flutter.

When Dave wrote in his artist statement about why he enjoys using traditional methods for his work, it sounded like I wrote it myself:

“I hope to invoke nostalgia for a time when people were more grounded to their surroundings through their daily activities. An era when craftsmanship could provide a living, and creativity was a necessity to make it from one day to another. A time when we had relationships with our neighbors, our co-workers, our food, our clothes and our families.”

Winged Heart
Love's Wings

I love it when artists get all geeky and sentimental about their methods and materials. Here’s Dave on working with wood and even his old tools:

“One of my earliest memories of woodworking is a recollection of my Grandfather making long curls of pine sliced swiftly off a board while he pushed one of his many planes. The unmistakable scent of fresh cut wood would fill the air as the “Shirley Temples” fell to the floor. He’d willingly round up a piece of wood just to make them for me if I asked. It always amazed me!  My grandfather taught me how to swing a hammer, cross cut a board with one of his old Diston saws, and cut “forty-fives” with his old cast iron miter box. Although we never did build anything together that I can recall, he left me a chest of hand tools and more importantly a desire to get to know him through the way of sawdust and the shaping of wood.”

Even though it is a different art form, when I feel a wool or cotton fiber running through my fingers, working it up to meet is potential, I feel exactly the same way Dave describes above. Like a thousand prairie women are singing a hymn that can only be heard by those who have been initiated into “the  joy of working with your hands.”

Come see Dave’s stuff at the Art Duh show opening up on April 23!

Devil Boy
Devil Boy