SANTA FE – Former employees of the Shidoni Foundry in Tesuque, which shut down earlier this month after 46 years of producing bronze sculptures on the outskirts of Santa Fe, are starting a new foundry in Albuquerque.
“New Mexico still needs a foundry, so we’re starting a foundry,” said Alex Johnson-Donnatelli, who was foundry manager at Shidoni.
The group has been doing pours for work commissioned by artists at Shidoni in recent days, but much of the equipment will soon be moved to Albuquerque, said Johnson-Donnatelli. “There was a lot of stuff left in limbo,” he said.
He said the Albuquerque Foundry – the name of the new operation – will be located in the Los Ranchos area. Two locations are under consideration. Johnson-Donnatelli said the group “is supposed to be signing papers on a place this weekend.”
Others involved in the project include DuWayne Blankley, Josh Ybarra and David Miles. All of them except Johnson-Donnatelli already live in Albuquerque.
Scott Hicks, president of Shidoni Inc., said the new foundry “totally has my backing.”
“I want them to take this and be great with it,” he said
“If I were young and had that energy, I might to want to start over again,” Hicks said. “It’s nice to see them pick up the ball and carry on.”
Hicks also said he’s glad the Albuquerque Foundry group plans to continue Shidoni’s tradition of making “grand scale” casts, such as a huge bucking bronco, with a rider, that will be finished in Albuquerque. “They really wanted to finish that one,” said Hicks.
Johnson-Donatelli said there are advantages to being in Albuquerque. Many Shidoni customers were from out of state and it’s cheaper to ship from Albuquerque, he said.
Shidoni has been a well-known mainstay in Santa Fe, as both a tourist attraction, with its sculpture garden and public pourings, and as a functioning foundry that produced pieces for the likes of Allan Houser and Glenna Goodacre. Hicks said Thursday he wants the public to know that Shidoni’s galleries and sculpture garden remain open to the public.
Hicks has said the closing resulted from a poor economy and a loss of artistic confidence in the foundry after the Santa Fe New Mexican published a story about the company’s $315,000 in overdue tax bills.