Fiber artist Erin Schoch on big leaps and small dreams

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Erin Schoch along with a few of her macramé pieces and her fiber arts logo / Photos courtesy of the artist

We live in anxious times. From pandemics to politics, wildfires to winter storms, no one knows what we’ll find beyond the front door tomorrow — or whether it’ll be safe to step outside at all.

When home feels like our only refuge, we may want it to feel extra homey. Warm colors. Natural elements. Soft clothes and blankets.

Enter Take Care Textiles.

The online shop’s name says it all: this is a haven of fiber arts, handcrafted with care by Albuquerque artist Erin Schoch.

Her plant hangers cradle succulents midair while “plant rugs” serve as coasters for pots below. Macramé…


Music as an act of self-determination

The three sisters pose in a glamorous mix of fringe, feathers, and gold jewelry with sand dunes and distant mountains behind them.
The three sisters pose in a glamorous mix of fringe, feathers, and gold jewelry with sand dunes and distant mountains behind them.
Photo by Ernie Zahn, courtesy of the artists

What are you?

It’s an existential question faced by humans around the world. Do you define yourself by a job or hobby? By relationships — daughter, partner, friend? Maybe your introduction includes your clan or country?

The three women of the Cuylear family have, for as long as they can remember, identified as sisters.

They were there for each other as children in a sometimes tumultuous home with substance use issues. They stuck together through their teens, even as they left town, one by one, to attend university.

Along the way, they started identifying as musicians, too. They’re “21st century…


Artist Alicia Sosa-Provencio talks heritage, motherhood, and a world of color

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Alicia Sosa-Provencio at work in her studio, where the wall is filled with the vivid colors of her previous paintings. Photo courtesy of the artist

The vision came to her after she had her first baby.

Like many new mothers — maybe all — Alicia Sosa-Provencio felt herself being consumed by her new role as life-giver and caretaker.

Figuratively, parenting ate up her time and energy, prompting her to leave her teaching job. Literally, her body labored to turn her own lifeforce into milk for the newborn.

The image she saw, as she spent the days with her infant son: the Mother of God, with her own son suckling in her arms.

“I’ve had this vision in me to paint this breastfeeding Virgin Mary since…


An Indigenous-led exhibition transcends whitewashed national narratives

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The Albuquerque Museum’s virtual entrance to the online exhibition.
Photo: Anthony Louderbough, “Demonstrators with Indian Power and Geronimo Signs,” March 31, 1973.
Courtesy of the Albuquerque Museum

The seed of an idea

Rebecca Prinster was pursuing her master’s at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2019 when Dr. Nick Estes visited her Critical Indigenous Studies class.

“Dr. Estes spoke with our class about Indigenous resistance,” Prinster recalled in a phone interview for Southwestness. That resistance takes many forms nowadays, from the #NoDAPL movement whose water protectors garnered international coverage in 2016, to local protests against the Entrada or conquistador statues.

“He talked about how people think that the activism that’s going on now just came out of nowhere,” she continued. …


Painting the town red (and more) with local muralists

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Artist Todd Hebestreit adds rouge to a new portrait of Lady Gaga adorning the rear entrance of the Launchpad on Jan. 23, 2021. Photo courtesy of Bobby Gutierrez

If you’ve been social distancing at home for most of the last year, you may have enjoyed your relative safety — but not enjoyed staring at the same four walls month after month.

Happily for you, dozens of Albuquerque artists are working to bring some beautiful new walls to life. Big, bright, colorful walls. Walls that are outside in the open air, free for all to see.

We’re talking murals, a staple of any self-respecting city — the literal local color.

Over the years, Albuquerque has been home to a vibrant array of murals in various neighborhoods.

“The sun really…


Behind the scenes of the Indian Pueblo Kitchen’s new culinary experience

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Chef Ray Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo, Odawa) presents a beautifully plated filet of smoked salmon with blueberry maple gastrique, the entrée of the first Pante Project dinner back in Nov. 2020. Photo courtesy of IPCC

Over thousands of years, the people living in (what we now call) the Americas have cultivated a rich variety of food.

Corn is a sacred staple; along with beans and squash, it forms a nutritious trifecta known as the Three Sisters. In northern lake country, wild rice is central to centuries-old foodways. To the south, crops like quinoa and cocoa thrive in tropically warm soil. …


Kicking off 2021 downtown with ABQ Artwalk

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Muralist Wemfer was one of many local artists who perfumed the street with spray paint during the Jan. 8 event

Last Friday evening, I did something I haven’t since the pandemic first sent New Mexico into lockdown back in March 2020: attended a crowded event.

I wouldn’t show up for anything that entailed the main risks for coronavirus transmission — close contact with people outside my household, especially indoors. This outing, however, checked all my virus-savvy boxes. We were outside, breathing the fresh night air of downtown Albuquerque. Masks were required. Most individuals maintained a safe distance as skeins of people wove around each other on the sidewalk. …


Here in the high desert of New Mexico, Washington has never felt more distant

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Photo illustration courtesy of the author | Landscape photo by Leonardo Chávez on Unsplash

Distance has defined so much of our lives in the last almost-year. There’s distance learning. Distance work, for those of us who can do our jobs remotely. Long-distance relationships, which now includes not just out-of-state friends and family but those up the road who we can no longer invite into our homes.

Everything feels far away these days.

Never has that been truer than for the treasonous insurrection in Washington this week.

Here in Albuquerque, news hit around lunchtime: pro-Trump protesters had mobbed the Capitol building and gone full fascist terrorist, smashing glass and breaking into offices.

I stopped to…


Fathoming death from a distance

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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

The nights are frosty lately. Black and frigid and lonely as outer space.

When I took the dogs out after dinner, I stood for a moment in the center of the fenced-in yard. My head tipped back. My lips sighed a trail of steam up toward the sky.

That is, I added a breath of mammal-heat to the atmosphere — the thin, cold layer of air that we share, between us and the void.

I could see stars, though not many. Mars shone clearly as the brightest point of light. …


Finding gratitude when we’re apart this holiday season

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Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

The citrus-celery tang of stuffing as my mother whips in the eggs.

How, soon after that stuffing slides into the oven, the kitchen fills with the steam of its bread crumbs baking all over again.

Pumpkin pie warming alongside mashed potatoes. Clouds of sweetness and cinnamon swirling with the scent of turkey breast. Nutmeg. Gingerbread.

There are crisp, green-tinged fragrances to slice through all of that warm goo, too. Tart apples; pine needles, and sap. …

Karie Luidens

I’m an Albuquerque-based writer of criticism, commentary, current events, and semi-connected musings. www.karieluidens.com

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