Traditional Spanish Market Artist Show to feature a plethora of award-winning artists - Albuquerque Journal

Traditional Spanish Market Artist Show to feature a plethora of award-winning artists

Winter Spanish Market artist Lorrie Garcia poses with her Alma de Maria (Mary’s Soul) and San Pasqual at her Peñasco studio. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

Sometimes faith and passion converge into art.

When retired Peñasco teachers Lorrie and Andrew Garcia took a furniture class at Northern New Mexico College, a world of carving, color and saints opened up. While Andrew would go on to create award-winning furniture, Lorrie painted and carved award-winning bultos and retablos.

Many years and awards later, the pair will show their work at the Traditional Spanish Market show on Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 26-27 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. The event features work by more than 100 adult and youth artists. The show will feature santos, jewelry, weaving, ironwork, wood carvings, straw appliqué, pottery, tin, furniture and more.

When Andrew was a child, he loved visiting the high school where his father served as principal.

“San Isidro and Blessed Maria Toribio: Los labores de Otoño (Autumn Work)” by Lorrie Garcia. (Courtesy of Lorrie Garcia)

“I always enjoyed going to the shop class and smelling the fragrance of the fresh cut wood,” he said.

But he didn’t take a wood carving class until his retirement, where he learned the basics from the El Rito carver Daniel Tafoya.

Now he makes display cabinets, chests and hall cabinets. He even carved his own kitchen cabinets.

He studied Spanish Colonial works in area museums, carving traditional motifs into his designs. He credits the Depression-era Works Progress Administration furniture made in workshops all across New Mexico as a major influence.

“Seeing the furniture, the tables, the chests, the cabinets made by my ancestors in every household” impacted his style.

An intricate display cabinet is typical of his work, he said.

“I incorporate a lot of the traditional northern New Mexico spiral carvings and rosettes, along with unusual carvings you could find in Spain,” he added.

Winter Spanish Market artist Andrew Garcia relaxes with his Spanish Colonial furniture in his Peñasco gallery. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

I don’t like to call it work because I enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t measure it in hours; I measure it in weeks and months.”

Lorrie began by carving furniture with her husband, but soon realized painting was her own calling. Her Catholic faith weaves throughout her images of saints, including the Virgin of Guadalupe, San Isidro and Térèse of Lisieux (the Little Flower.)

“I am Catholic and my parents were always active in the church,” she said. “I would go with my mother to clean the church. I was always fascinated by the artwork.

“I had already started doing relief carving on my own with wildlife,” she continued. “I just love the feel of wood; I love the smell of wood. There’s something about shaping wood that really appeals to my soul.”

Her retablo of San Isidro includes an image of the Blessed Maria Toribio, the saint’s lesser-known wife. San Isidro was a Spanish farmworker known for his piety toward the poor and animals.

Hall cabinet by Andrew Garcia. (Courtesy of Lorrie Garcia)

“Legend has it that he was told, ‘You’re not keeping the Lord’s day holy,’ so they sent him an angel to help. That’s why he’s being depicted with an angel in the picture.”

Lorrie considers the Virgin of Guadalupe to be her patron saint after seeing an image of her at Santuario de Chimayó, the chapel known for its “holy dirt.”

“She’s always front and center for me,” Lorrie said, adding she walked into the church with her eyes closed and opened them to see her face in the artwork.

“She’s always depicted with roses,” Lorrie continued.

Her 2019 Santuario de Chimayó-style altar screen took many awards. She based the background on the original, as well as the weavings of her great-grandmother, Rio Grande weaver Patricia Montoya Roybal, whose work hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.

“I’ve been studying her work,” Lorrie said. “Her style of weaving is like what’s on the altar screen at Chimayó.

Lorrie took second place for a retablo at last summer’s Traditional Spanish Market; Andrew took a first for furniture.

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