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35th annual Placitas holiday sale features more than 80 artists, craftspeople

One of the most successful arts and crafts events in the area returns to Placitas for its 35th year.

"Spring Snow in the Sandias" by Dana Patterson Roth. Roth's photography of botanicals, landscapes and more will be featured at the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Sale.

“Spring Snow in the Sandias” by Dana Patterson Roth. Roth’s photography of botanicals, landscapes and more will be featured at the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Sale.

The Placitas Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Sale is a juried show that showcases more than 80 New Mexico fine artists, painters, printmakers, clay and glass artists, sculptors, woodworkers, silk painters, photographers, gourd artists, jewelers, metal artists and others. They will be selling their wares at three locations in Placitas: Anasazi Fields Winery, the big tent next to Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and Placitas Elementary School.

“When you get these many (years) under your belt and you’re still going strong, it really does say something,” event co-organizer Nancy Couch said of the event’s long run. “It’s probably a lot of things that makes it so good: the quality of art; the setting helps, as well. Placitas is such a beautiful place, and it kind of denotes art just like other artistic communities, so that’s really been important and good for us and the community.”

“Mandala Kaleidoscope” by Nancy and Jon Couch.

“Mandala Kaleidoscope” by Nancy and Jon Couch.

This year’s featured artists are Nancy and Jon Couch, who are known for their glass water prisms, pyramid lamps, mandalas and jewelry boxes.

“We’ve been in all 35 of the holiday shows, so it’s kind of a milestone,” Nancy Couch said. “We figured we’d kind of celebrate that. It’s very personal. We’ve been involved in all of them. … It seems like a long time ago for all of us. I was just a young girl then, and now I’m in my 60s. Our rainbows keep us young. We’re famous for those, not only in our community of Placitas, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but all over the world and all over the country.”

There are a number of artists who return year after year and have been part of the event for more than 20 years.

“There are other artists who come from other communities, like Nancy Wood Taber,” Couch said. “She’s from Tijeras, and she does incredible pencil drawings of animals. You can see the quality of her work is just outstanding, and she’s been coming to the show for 20-plus years. People really look forward to her. Another person who comes from out of town is Terry Adams. He’s a metal sculptor. He’s been coming for 20-plus years. He makes big, beautiful Southwestern sculptures that can go outside. He’s very popular.”

Wildlife images hand-painted on drums and wildlife photography on canvas by Joan Hellquist

Wildlife images hand-painted on drums and wildlife photography on canvas by Joan Hellquist.

Couch also mentioned Olaf Heintz from Socorro, who is newer to the event. Heintz, who was a “big success” last year, will return this year with his fine wooden small furniture, including rocking chairs, tables and cabinets, according to Couch. Others to look out for are Placitas artist Joan Hellquist, who paints on drums, and paper artist Sarena Mann.

“(Hellquist) does owls and eagles and all kinds of different animals,” Couch said. “It’s really neat, because it’s something you can put on your wall and actually play it. … Another person that I see that’s real popular is Sarena Mann. She has these paper sculptures. They did a big commission on her and bought a whole lot of her work at different airports throughout the country. And she has been coming to the holiday sale for a very long time, as well.”

There also will be plenty of foods to taste and ingest as well as wines to imbibe.

Anasazi wines will be available for tasting as well as for purchase by the glass and by the bottle at the winery. New Mexico’s Coonridge Organic Goat Cheese will have its unique free-range goat cheese products, which include “incredible exotic flavors.” Gourmet chocolates by Santa Fe’s ChocolateSmith also will be available, as well as local honey. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church will be cooking up a storm and selling its items as part of a fundraiser. The Bernalillo High School Thespians also will be selling homemade food to raise money for its projects, according to Couch.

Functional pottery by Mary and Karl Hofmann

Functional pottery by Mary and Karl Hofmann.

A large raffle also will be held at Placitas Elementary School to help raise money for its art efforts. Art donated by participating artists will be up for grabs.

“It’s $1 a ticket, and you get a chance to win something really nice for $1,” Couch said. “All the money goes to the art in the school program at Placitas Elementary School. That program actually buys art supplies for the children, and they have special projects for them to do. We’ve been doing this for 13 to 14 years, and we’ve given them about $16,000 throughout all these years. It’s a great event and a great way to support the arts and the school, as well.”