The downtown Makers Market at Orchard Park in Farmington, held every Thursday and Friday from June to October, wound up its summer season Saturday with the Southwest Apple and Chile Fest at the Civic Center.
Coordinator Flo Trujillo reported the 1,856 people attended. As president of the Northwest New Mexico Arts Council, Trujillo serves the committee chair for the increasingly popular event, which began in 2015.
Roger Nelson Jr. said he was inspired by COVID-19 to begin his innovative sculptures, utilizing items from nature: tree branches, rocks, etc. After cooking in local restaurants for years and losing a lower leg to diabetes, Nelson turned to his creative side.
“I got no help from the state except for food stamps, so all I do is … for my income,” he said. Using rocks collected by his mother from the reservation, along with two buckets from the beach she visited in New Jersey, he uses super glue, Loctite and resin for his artwork.
“I keep them at a fair price,” Nelson said, at $15 to $40.
Elizabeth Flores, who recently relocated to Farmington from El Paso to be near family, displayed crochet caps, shawls and throws.
Artist Rebecca Rafferty of Kirtland displayed her paintings and silver, bronze and copper jewelry; along with hardwoods such as honey locust inlaid with mother of pearl.
Rafferty’s husband, Patrick, works alongside her. “I’ve been tinkering with this for about a year,” he said.
Middle school librarian Yolanda Lopez and retired teacher Lisa Christian’s booth overflowed with handmade aprons, grocery bag holders, T-shirts, baby quilts, scarfs, bandannas, gnomes and travel shoe bags. They were priced at $5 to $25.
Deana Garcia offered clay jewelry, and her mother displayed crocheted clothing and accessories.
T.J. Young, a recent Farmington transplant, has been making candles for about four years and goat milk-based soaps for a year.
“I came here from Durango, via Texas via Arizona,” Young chuckled, as The Doors song Roadhouse Blues blasted the familiar chorus “Let it roll” on his mini-speaker.
Born in Durango, Young quickly acclimated to the area.
“I love it. I was being real reserved about my opinion of the people, of the place,” Young said. “But now I’m getting out and about and getting to know people. This place is amazing – the most down-to-earth people, the friendliest you could ever hope to meet.”
Cherie Marie Martinez, a Cedar Hill resident, sold jewelry and baked treats at her booth. She talked about the process of making an Elvis costume for her now-deceased husband. Working over a year-and-a-half, she meticulously glued every bead, sewed each stone and ironed the wing design.
Her husband wore the outfit five times for their musical act, Cherie Marie and the Money Tree. “He played the guitar, and I did a little keyboard,” she said.
Mike Prince, who said he has been painting for just six months, was completing a picture of a skull. He said he had already found a buyer.
“I typically do portraits, but then Halloween’s coming up, so I wanted to try still life and found a good picture of this skull,” he said.
Prince, with buffed biceps, said he planned to compete in the Aztec Highland Games on the weekend. “My favorite event is definitely the Hammer Toss.”
Rosita Lewis of Shiprock displayed her beadwork.
“I’ve been beading all my life … and these are made out of size 15 beads (very tiny) and that’s why they have more designs on them.”
Local authors, including Lee Pierce, Jack Yerby, Gloria O’Shields, Anthony Bartley, Roberta Summers, Vicky Ramakka and Terry Nichols, were represented at another table
O’Shields’ recent novel, Quinn’s Quest, is based on “an idea I got in my head about a woman and the funny things she does to get her life back together.”
Nichols, a retired ranger from Aztec Ruins National Park, had completed her first book, The Dreaded Cliff, which is geared to children ages 8 to 12.
“Flo the pack rat, lost, has fallen into a strange canyon, and she needs to get home to the dreaded cliff, where an invader has taken over the ancestral pack rat home,” Nichols said.
The Northwest New Mexico Growers Alliance partnered to provide food and produce at the Orchard Park venue.
And a local band kept the waves of festivalgoers moving through the booths of artists, artisans, musicians and vendors.
The Sandstoners played country covers and originals at 5 p.m. The quartet of Deborah Baker, Scott Harden, Ian Rutter and Mike Easterling, focusing on the “eccentricities of life in the Four Corners,” covered artists such as Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams, John Haitt, Kate Bush and Bob Dylan. They also have recorded a second demo of original tunes.
The day was capped by an Art in the Alley Walking Tour of colorful, eye-catching paintings on buildings.
“I like them to thrive,” Trujillo said, regarding local artists, artisans, musicians and vendors.