Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shopping at Two Graces Vol. 3

Here's the latest stuff from Two Graces, with a snake twist.

Using myself as a model may not be the best way to present these necklaces BUT...

Since I frequently wear my snake vertebrae necklace out & about and here at the shop, I'm asked quite frequently about it, maybe people are curious about what sort of person would actually wear such a thing. The story is that these were imported from Senegal (Africa) within the last 20-30 years. They were being sold at the Santa Fe Flea Market (the old Trader Jack's Flea) back then, people were told that they were Hopi Snake Dance Necklaces, and that they were very special, from a ceremony which years earlier had been closed to Whites/Belagana. So this was going to be as close as you were going to get to any Hopi Snake Dance. As I've researched this as much as anyone obsessed with this sort of thing could it turns out that there are many early photographs of Hopi Snake dance and that never in a million years would a Hopi priest wear such a thing, snakes are SACRED. You won't find these necklaces for sale anywhere, but here I have 3 of them. The truth is as I'd been asked over the years about them I found that a friend of mine now in his early 90's has a stash of them. It's taken over 3 years to convince him to sell me a few, and yesterday he brought a few in. In his words "they aren't cheap".

The 2 on each end which have smaller bones are $79.99 each, the one in the center is SOLD with larger bones (closer to the size I wear). I have restrung these myself with the help of Del Orr, and have added glass and tile beads to the back area, this keeps the very uncomfortable bones from laying directly on the back of your neck. They are all about 30" long, large enough to slip over the average person's head.

I include here these images of Rebecca Sievers' "Skeleton Sock Monkeys" these first 2 are "Scrappy" no tattoos on this guy, and "Punk Rock"

Last time Rebecca made a few of these for my Dia de los Muertos exhibit they sold out before the opening, for days on end people asked about them but they were all gone. These are once again all gone, approximately 9" long they are stuffed with organic stuffing, Fairfield brand Rayon Fiber made from Bamboo. Well, well, as predicted the sock monkey skeletons are selling before the Day of the Dead exhibit is even up and running, "Scrappy" the one without tattoos is still available, (he's the one to the far left).

These 2 are called "Bad Cat" and "Mom and Dad" Rebecca makes these from time to time for us, we are currently out of stock, but please call or email the store to check on availability.

Cut Metal Petroglyph Figure w/Snake 14" tall welded onto metal base w/copyright and DIY signature. SOLD This type of petroglyph are often pointed out as UFO figures. With a snake in his hand I am reminded of the Hopi Snake dance and of the guided tour hike I took with my Brother-in-Law & Sister 20 plus years ago into Canyon de Chelly with a Navajo guide. We asked him to show us Petroglyphs in particular ones of Kokopelli, well, we had the right guide that day he took us into cracks and crevices of the canyon hiking us as though we were a group of pack animals. When we came upon a live snake he became so excited explaining to us that this was the first time in over 25 years that he'd seen a snake in the canyon and that our presence must have something to do with this occurrence, making for an absolutely magical experience for all.

Hopi Kachina Haaniiya Katsinam Ogre with base 12"tall, mounted onto a base not original to the carving, but cleverly done to keep from glueing or nailing it onto the base, I've left it attached because it's an amazing way to display this doll. This was acquired at the Grand Canyon ca. 1950's/60's the head of the smnake is carved cottonwood body is some sort of papier mache or twisted paper onto a wire(?) I include him here because of the "snake dance" kilt he is wearing which is made of canvas. An amazing doll at an incredibly affordable price SOLD.

Hopi Horned Ogre Route 66 Kachina Doll ca. 1930's/40's height 5" (larger than usual) with original price in pencil written on bottom of ($2.). Route 66 dolls were made by the same carvers that create traditional dolls, the difference being that these dolls have a base and not legs and feet. They stand better than traditional dolls, and are made for the tourists of the 20's to present, the great Pooley Family still makes these through to this day. Easy to display in a curio cabinet. A traditional doll is given out to a Hopi Girl at a Kachina Dance Ceremony of which there are many during the yearly Hopi Calendar. This style of doll is meant for the tourist industry. SOLD

Butterfly Maiden Girl, signed (illegible) with original price tag of $250 on bottom Two Graces price SOLD height 9" with base. The carving and painting on this doll is very beautiful one of the best contemporary carvings I've seen, and with "Princess Leia" doughnut hair style! This is not a "true" Kachina doll but a social dancer doll. Social dances are meant to be a form of "high School" dance is the best way I can describe it, a way for boys and girls of the villages to get together and meet one another. Probably carved within the last 10 years, this was acquired from a Taos Pueblo woman. Taos Pueblo & Hopi-Land have extremely strong ties. When I visit the Hopi villages about every other year, when asked where I'm from I say Taos, and I'm always being asked to say hello to so and so back in Taos. Well, Taos is a small town, but I really don't know everyone!

I'd like to share something very nice with you which happened today. Of late I'm mostly worried about the fate of my little shop here in Ranchos, business has not been all that great and the landlord who has been very patient is now looking at reconsidering my lease, or not.
So, we are still hopeful to catch up with the rent and all the other bills and perhaps have that great customer (or many) come by and make it alright. Today a French woman came in with her husband, as she was leaving she stopped to say "This is one of the Loveliest shops we've seen since we arrived". After a while she came back and purchased the pair of vintage standing picture frames that are on the blog in Shopping Volume one. I could keep going on about how we have WONDERFUL customers, (and some not so much), but that would all be endless. One last thing...

Another rather nice thing that happened is this Hopi Koshare Bowl was given to me by one of the local "Pickers" I know. He told me as he was buying it the woman dropped it and it crashed to the floor, she took the time to glue it back together for him, but of course now it's a broken bowl. Still it has great beauty to me and very special. On September 30 Taos Pueblo will have San Geronimo Day complete with Koshare "Clowns". Warning if you go: STAY AWAY from the "CLOWNS"!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shopping at Two Graces Vol. 2

Inside doorway entrance to Two Graces, with our very heartfelt ThankYou and array of Holy Cards over the Taos blue door.

Hopi Matchstick Cross, typically Matchstick crosses aren't made by Native Americans, they were made in the Bible Summer Camps. WHY someone would have an Arts & Crafts project of burning boxes of matches with children is beyond me. When I was teaching at an arts oriented Summer Camp for a few years this sort of thing would have surely gotten me fired. Well, maybe they're trying to teach about "Fire & Brimstone" or something of that nature???
This one with the Hopi Sunface carved and painted original to the piece matches glued onto an old cardboard poster ca. 1960's is 7 1/2" wide and tall is SOLD

A signed Ford Ruthling Metal Cut-out Indian Headband with blue paint. This piece was nailed onto Mr. Ruthling's Garden door. He is a well known Santa Fe artist at times leaning towards Folk Art. The garden was featured in the book Behind Adobe Walls the Hidden Homes and Gardens of Santa Fe and Taos a great example 17 1/2" x 6" priced at SOLD

A TRUE New Mexico Retablo of The Virgin of Guadalupe, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe 1820-1850's by the "Quill Pen Santero" so called for his little scribbles along the sides of most of his paintings and the black outlines, with illegible stickers on the back, from an old Taos collection. True Quill Pen Retablos are always rather "Chipped" this also lends credence to this unique piece of Taos Santero artistry. This is very reminiscent of an Aragon painting but is not, on a 1/4" wooden board, size 5 1/2" x 8 1/4" Sold

These 2 retablos are great examples. Each quite different, either of which will add a wonderful Spirituality to your home whether a Religious person or not.

Santo Nino the seated Christ Child, is known to wander at night looking for your lost articles, he will find them for you but when he does you must present him with a new pair of shoes left at his altar.
Santo Nino de Atoche Tin Retablo from Mexico mid 1900's, from an old Taos family collection
10" x 7" Sold

Angel Wall Shelf Wood Carved, 11" wide. Probably from Mexico. Painted to look like Terra Cotta, but surprisingly wooden Sold

Wood Carved Golden Angel wall hanging with hand facing up for good fortune holding a bundled child, probably from Guatemala, possibly Mexico 10" wide SOLD

Two Sided Carved Wooden Angel Gabriel with gray wash paint on blue & white base, probably made in Guatemala 16" x 8" Sold

A collection of 3 vintage Ice Cream Molds ca. 1918-1930
I thought these were chocolate molds when I first saw them, then I found an antiques shop on Canyon Road in santa Fe with a whole case display of them where they were for sale at $200-$350., needless to say Two graces prices are considerably better the Cupid & Heart 3" wide
E & Co, New York marking with patent mark SOLD

Victorian era 3 part shoe (or is it Edwardian) 6 1/2" wide patent No. 899A E & Co. for the top piece which is separate and looks like a hat to still be with this makes it extremely rare SOLD

Which came first the chicken or the egg?
This Hen Ice Cream Mold 3 1/2" wide is marked S & Co. Patent No. 173 SOLD

We Thank You Very Much for taking the time to shop at Two Graces, with a big happy wave of the paw from our collection of Lucky Cats, (NFS).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Taos Mushroom Soup

Here's the recipe that may or may not be for everyone, I learned this soup recipe from Carlo Gislimberti working in the kitchen for him at Villa Fontana 8 years ago. Carlo also took me to a couple of his favorite mushroom hunting areas, I've been to these a couple of times and have encountered bears each time, so now I leave my mushroom hunting to purchasing them at the Taos Farmer's Market. Although he adds cream to his soup I add potatoes for the thickening agent instead, you may substitute cream if you prefer a little will go a long way so use around 1/3 cup cream or less if you desire. This serves 2 and you'll want seconds, even if you aren't all that crazy about mushrooms
Ingredients are fresh 3 medium sized Bolito or Porcini Mushrooms, or about 1/2 cup of dried, a small palmful of Chanterelle Mushrooms
1 can of Chicken broth or Vegetable broth, 1 small onion, 2 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, a small Green Chile Hatch style or Poblano mild Pepper, Rosemary, Bayleaf, Sage, Salt & Pepper, Tblsp Olive Oil & Tblsp Butter.
Slice the onion thinly and add to a saute/soup pot with less than a tablespoon of Olive Oil, cook this until translucent, add your diced pepper (not very much if it's hot, or add at the very end), add the large diced fresh or dried Bolitos and small diced Potatoes, saute a bit and add the stock with the Bayleaf, pinch of Sage, and sprig of Rosemary, add an extra 1 1/2 cups of water. When the potatoes are done in 30-40 minutes, with the back of a spoon smush them against the side of the pot, the starch from these will thicken the soup, don't worry about smushing the mushrooms they will maintain their integrity. If you prefer to add cream rather than potatoes do that when the soup is almost done. My trick with soup is to add a potato to it, when the tater is cooked the soup is ready. I add the chopped up Chanterelles and a Tablespoon of Butter to the soup and serve it once this has melted and been stirred in. If you are using dried mushrooms the cooking time will be about 45-60 minutes, otherwise the soup should be done in about 45 minutes. Remove the Bayleaf and Rosemary sprig. Serve in big soup bowls grind some pepper on top, along with a plate of nice fresh crusty bread to dip into this wonderful meal, try to stay away from putting butter on that bread or dipping it into olive oil, this is already a mighty tasty soup.
Here's the paw print of that pesky bear guarding those delicious Taos Mountain Bolito Mushrooms!
As a youngster my Mom's Aunties would take all the women out mushroom picking on Cape Cod, they'd come back with bags full, chop them all up and throw them into a big soup pot sauteed with olive oil, garlic and broth. As a child I had no idea the treat they were enjoying, ooh yuck mushrooms from the woods, what a fool I was, well I was just a kid, now I know better, so please give this recipe a try, even those of you who still react with, ooh yuck, I think you'll be converted, otherwise I'll eat your share!

Shopping at Two Graces Volume 1

Perhaps if I added items from the shop every day to this blog I might finish before the end of the year, we'll see what happens. At some point I'll have to start listing things on the dreaded auction site, but for now readers of this blog will have a chance to shop Two Graces without having to physically be here. Descriptions, sizes and pricing will be below or between the items.
5 1/2" & 4 3/4" silver plated standing frames with deep blue velvet backings with original glass, as you can see falling out of the floral design at the top are a pair of falling Ank symbols placing these ca. 1920's SOLD
Architectural or Furniture detail moldings, resin cast,
Floral 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Traditional Scallop Shell 2" x 2 3/4"
There are approximately 200 pcs. total and are all sold out
Material for art projects or for glueing them onto furniture and even an entire wall!
9 Taos Ceramic Crosses each 2 1/2" - 3 1/2" tall
The lady I purchased these from needs some sincere encouragement, I hope to do that by selling out of them ASAP! (currently 3 of these are left, 1/13/11) Sorry Sold Out.
Vintage Tin Nicho Boxes, painted yellow ages ago by their former Taos owner, although traditional to have pictures of Saints in them these images have been replaced, the one on the right is missing it's top, probably a cross cut off out of frustration with a prayer not coming to fruition. Very typical, years ago my Mom threw a Saint Statue down the cellar steps smashing it to bits in a moment of anger over the passing of her Mom. These may or may not be from New Mexico, but were in a Taos home for many years, the one on the left w/Santo Nino is priced at SOLD and the one missing the top piece with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Miracle is SOLD
The following assortment of Tin Frames are made in Mexico, and had been designed, created and imported by a Taos resident who had a business 20 years ago here selling these to shops in Taos & Santa Fe. I've bought out his stock on these so they are very limited availability. Although not quite Vintage they are unique and have a better quality to them than what is found today.
Small modern Patina Tin Frames with glass and stands, 3 3/4" tall can also be converted to hang nice variety, (above) Sorry Sold Out
Medium size Nicho Box Tin Frame with patina & swinging Glass Door and locking mechanism
6 1/4" x 3 3/4" image size 4" x 2 1/2" fits traditional Holy Card price $18.99 each ready to hang 6 designs there are some duplicates of these, limited stock. (above) Very Few Left...
Large Tin Nicho Box Frame, shiny (these can be distressed) with swinging glass door and locking mechanism 9" x 5 1/4" image size 5 1/4" x 3 1/2" price $24.99 each ready to hang
6 designs there are some duplicates of these, sold out
Oversized Tin Nicho Box Frame, standing or to hang, shiny or slightly distressed with swinging glass door and locking mechanism 11" x 8 1/4" enclosure area 6 3/4" height x 2 3/4" deep x 5 1/2" wide price SOLD OUT each 2 designs as seen
Thus begins the sampling of items from the shop Two Graces, although this sampling is tending to lean towards religious oriented items we carry a wide variety of items reflecting the curios of Taos & the Southwest. Shipping fees will always be minimal we do not intend to make a profit on shipping, of course with shipping there is then no Tax charged unless you are within the state of New Mexico in which case please come by and visit soon.