Magazine article Sunset

Visit the Carvers: Artisans along the High Road to Taos

Magazine article Sunset

Visit the Carvers: Artisans along the High Road to Taos

Article excerpt

"My work is a prayer," says Lorrie Garcia of Penasco, New Mexico. "I always offer a prayer for the person who is ultimately going to end up with each piece." She is one of roughly 100 artists who open their studios (which are usually open by appointment only) for the annual High Road Arts Tour (Sep 18-19 and 25-26; free, for a map visit www.highroadnewmexico.com). Descendants of Spanish settlers, wood carvers like Garcia craft fine furniture and art much as their ancestors did. With fall color starting in the mountains, joining the tour to learn about the state's wood-carving tradition makes a perfect day's outing from Santa Fe.

First stop is Chimayo. With its venerable cottonwood bultos (statues) of San Rafael and San Jose, the recently restored Santuario de Chimayo church (Santuario Rd.; 505/351-4889) is a 188-year-old source of artistic inspiration. The nearby High Road MarketPlace (4 Santo Nino Place; 505/351-1078) showcases local work.

Turn off the High Road (State 76) again at the village of Cordova, where six generations of carvers are represented in the studio of Sabinita Lopez de Ortiz (9 County Rd. …

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