The spirit of the High Road Studio Art Tour is relaxed, but a studio hopper would have to be anything but relaxed to see everything the tour offers in one day. Organizers have solved the problem by scheduling the tour for the last two weekends in September. Brochures available at visitor centers in both Taos and Santa Fe give a mini preview for those who want to make only part of the journey. Maps are also available at every studio and on the Internet Banners mark each open studio.
On a crisp autumn day, the drive alone would be worth the trip even without the opportunity to chat with the creative people who call these mountains home. The tour includes galleries and workshops that are open throughout the year and some studios that are rarely open.
Potter Betsy Williams wants to have time to talk with her visitors, so she will finish firing her pots before the tour starts. It takes attention to keep her wood-fired kiln burning, and it takes three days for it to cool. “It’sa lot of fun to have people come to your environment rather than going out to market your work,” Williams says.
Sculptors Terry Ensenat Mulert and Paula Castillo have turned a general store in Cordova into a gallery. In the old days the store sold everything from coffins to grain, Castillo said. Mulert’s abstract and figurative woodcarvings continue an old Cordova tradition, while Castillo’s abstract metal pieces use primary geometric shapes. Their 7-year-old son, Francis Mulert, plans to open his bone museum for the day; it features a coyote skull.
Tejadoras de Las Trampas, a rag-weaving collective, has a studio in an old schoolhouse on the plaza in Las Trampas. The cozy workshop holds eight looms, and women from the surrounding villages come here to weave and share stories. When men ask if they can join also, project coordinator Jody Ford tells them, “Yes, if you don’t mind being in a roomful of women.” No men belong to the group right now, she says.