Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Illuminating the Word" Exhibit

Last Friday, my sister, Rosalind, a close friend, Diane and I traveled the short distance from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to visit two museums for two very special exhibits.
Creation by Donald Jackson, creative director of the project.

 The first much anticipated exhibit, "Illuminating the Word" was an incredible experience.  Thirteen years of painstaking work by some of the finest calligraphers, artists and theologians in the world comes to a close this year with the completion of The Saint John’s Bible – a contemporary handwritten and illuminated Bible created by a team of artists and calligraphers at a Scriptorium in Wales. Before its pages are bound into volumes and placed on permanent exhibition by the Benedictine monks at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., 44 pages from two of the Bible’s seven volumes – Wisdom Books and Prophets – are being exhibited at the New Mexico History Museum.

"Wisdom Woman" by Donald Jackson

The project took root at an early 1990s retreat at New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch, where Donald Jackson developed a concept piece titled Christ in the Desert, expanding on a lifelong desire to create a handwritten and illuminated Bible. In 1995, he presented the concept and his sketches to Saint John’s Abbey, where he received the go-ahead to develop a version of the entire Bible with illumination, calligraphy and the finest materials – something with the staying power of 2,000 years. (Jackson’s New Mexico sketches are being shown for the first time in this exhibit.)

Donald Jackson at his scriptorium in Wales. Image courtesy of Donald Jackson Scriptorium, Wales.
 The Museum has just announced that the show will be extended until December of 2012.  If you love art you MUST SEE this exhibit.  If you are interested in calligraphy you MUST SEE this exhibit.  If you are Bible student, you MUST SEE this exhibit!

Breaking our day to have lunch at the Shed continued a  tradition started by my godmother 54 years ago.  Mary Beth Grisso spent her summers in Santa Fe and frequently invited members of our family to visit for a few days of "cultural events."   She introduced us as small children to the New Mexico Opera, to Flaminco dancing at El Nido, to Maria Martinez's pottery making, to Santero artists in Northern New Mexico, to stories of having her hair cut with Georgia O'Keefe, and to her own amateur artwork and studio space. 

Diane and Rosalind

She taught us to appreciate fine dining and good conversation and to never "look at the right side of a menu" by which she meant the prices.  The Shed was always our lunch spot and we had to arrive by 11:30 a.m before the "rush" of the tourists.  It continues to be my sister and I's favorite place to lunch and we still order the same things, soft tacos with no posole for Rosalind, and blue corn enchildas, red with a side of sour cream for me.

Caution, food is spicy!
 The Shed is a very colorful place that is very appealing to children and tourists alike.
The doorways are very low as the adobe walls of the building date back to 1692  when folks were not nearly as tall, and keeping warm was much more of a challenge.  Ducking down is a necessary skill to move through the rooms of the restaurant.
Waiting in the bar is not an option because single diners sit here.

But the courtyard is lovely on a warm early spring day.

 Full to the brim with tummies warmed by the chile, off we drove to the New Mexico Museum of Indian Art and Culture to see the

Margarete Bagshaw:  "Breaking the Rules" Exhibit

February 12, 2012 through December 30, 2013
Sorry about the blurry image.  The painting itself is gorgeous!

Margarete Bagshaw: Breaking the Rules features more than 30 paintings (some on sculpted wood panels), bronze and clay as wall art and multi-colored ceramic vessels that demonstrate the breadth and multi-dimensionality of Margarete Bagshaw's work. The exhibition runs through December 30, 2013.
Bursting with color and activity Bagshaw’s canvases are vibrant combinations of precise shape, texture, translucent layering, and light. Her paintings range from small to quite large and have an abstract, Cubist quality steeped in spirituality – a connection to her Native heritage and to her artistic forbears.
One wonders if Bagshaw’s grandmother, Pablita Velarde, were alive today would she be painting like this? It’s through her mother, acclaimed artist Helen Hardin, that Bagshaw traces her creative lineage back to Velarde – a dynasty of independent women artists as renown for their art as they were for breaking the rules.

Altogether a wonderful day.  Hope your weekend was wonderful.


  1. It was a great day! Just noticed that your spell checker doesn't speak Spanish--it changed flamenco to flamingo!

  2. Great minds think alike! Diane Taggart and I went to The Shed and to see this museum exhibit today. I'm so happy that they've extended it until December because I want to go again.
    I love your blog by the way. :)


I love hearing from you. Please let me know you visited.