Flocking to Los Alamos for art

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By Nancy Coombs

From Tucson, El Paso, Colorado and more than 38 towns in New Mexico, artists are flocking to Los Alamos to share their wares at the 31st Annual Arts and Crafts Fair Saturday. The lawn behind Fuller Lodge will once again sport the festive white canopies, each one offering lovingly-created crafts or fine arts for sale.

Sponsored by the Art Center at Fuller Lodge, this is the 31st year of the arts and crafts fair, and of the 100 vendors, more than two-thirds are repeats, enthusiastically drawn back to the comfortable setting and appreciative customers they find in Los Alamos. Michael Geiger, of Santa Fes Fire Tiles, reflects that the fair is always well attended, no matter what the weather. He and his wife have been very successful, even in nasty weather.

The arts and crafts for sale run the gamut from tiles and tile-topped furniture to pottery, clothing and fiber arts, wood crafts, candles and jewelry. Betty Foster, traveling in from Plainview, Texas to offer her floral wreaths, heard about this fair from her friends Jack and Diann Eshleman, of Texico, N.M., who are returning again to sell their fine arts in the beauty of northern New Mexico.

Los Alamos resident Michelle Stump, owner of Harp of the Spirit, will again provide her nature photographs and cards. Newcomer Cindy Valdez, whom Stump has mentored through breaking into the art world business, will also offer prints and cards, which feature her horses, including heartwarming mare-foal shots.

Gerret Durland, of Ojo Sarco, returns to share the hand-turned wooden bowls and vases that he creates throughout the winter months while residing in Mexico. Creative Wood Urns of Cerro, N.M., offers pieces fashioned out of burled wood, each piece unique in the pattern left in the wood by burrowing insects. Owners Frank and Judy Fraijo are first-time participants in Los Alamos, having heard about it from vendors at other fairs this summer. Gary and Laina Katcher of Los Alamos work in wood as well, with a focus on fine scrollwork. They offer many kinds of pieces, including sculpture, puzzles, crosses and even portraits.

Jewelry lovers will find a wide assortment of styles, from beaded items to those finely crafted with precious metals and gems, from classic traditional to contemporary cloisonn. Los Alamos native Sarah Kratzer is again using her college summer vacation to sell her jewelry at arts and crafts fairs. Fernando Benally of Santa Fe offers Native American jewelry in gold as well as silver with stone inlay. Two other vendors new to the Los Alamos fair include mother-daughter team Glenna and Anna Carlton. Glenna will travel up from Mansfield, Texas, to join her daughter Anna of Santa Fe. They both create fine jewelry with precious metals and stone.

Those looking to spice up their wardrobes will appreciate Jutta Zuloagas Exquisite Knits which she designs and creates for custom orders. Venus Brightstar of Red Clay People offers a line of leather clothing nicely complimented by her jewelry. Several other vendors with clothing for both adults and children will be on hand.

The Estep husband and wife team operate as Rio Bravo Studios of Los Alamos, offering Rebeccas photographic prints, fabric art and beaded jewelry, and Roberts paintings, giclee prints and posters. Kathryn Hjereson, another Los Alamos artisan, will sell her jewelry.

There will be the usual assortment of edible goodies available. Shoppers can get decorated with henna by Saleema Lookman. Tito Rios will play music throughout the day, and at 11 a.m., Ellen Walton will dance flamenco with her students.

The Art Center at Fuller Lodges Summer Arts and crafts Fair will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, on the lawn at Fuller Lodge.