Saturday, April 19, 2008

tiling the time away

When Erin Magennes was still in high school in Albuquerque, her mother, an art professor at the University began the most ambitious project of her life--tiling the home they lived in, from top to bottom and everywhere in between.

Not just a single color, or a basic pattern that repeats.  No,  Beverly Magennes made each wall different, accenting them with flowers, birds and bursts of color, using fragments of tile that she scrounged and/or was gifted.  On the inside, all the ceilings and walls were covered in cereal boxes and coins, cigar packages and popsicle sticks.  Beautifully!  All in all, it was an 11 year undertaking.  And then Beverly moved on.  

Meanwhile, Erin was developing a love of tilework herself.  For years, she had an art car that 
carried much of the same sense of vibrant design and meticulous detail.  But the house, as she learned the hard way, was falling prey to the dangers of time and weather.  And the fact that her mom hadn't been as interested in proper technique as she was in making her vision a reality.  So Erin (who now owns a tile business) somewhat reluctantly begun the labor-intensive process of renovating the Tile House.  "It's an Albuquerque icon" she says, and a task she felt had to be done.  A year and a half later the place is truly looking great, and even though Erin tried to not be on camera, we TV Weasels knew she needed to be.  We didn't even ask how many tiles, like some pesky crews!

Our ABQ stay included a great lunch nearby at Sophia's, a small, non-descript eatery that's known for its good, hearty breakfasts and lunches.  We needed our strength for a run down to the fairgrounds to see Fidel.  That's what the locals call the mustachioed Bunyan style Muffler Man who's wielding an axe on the roof of a Vietnamese Restaurant.  Talk about cultural diversity.  That's just off Central Avenue, also known as Old Route 66.  There's a stretch of East Central where motels of yore (the ones that are left anyway) are showing their age, but none quite like the Aztec.   Apparently, some years ago a woman named Phyllis moved in and started decorating its simple stucco cabins with thrift store paintings and statuary, adding rocks, bottles, tires and assorted bric a brac.  Muy eclectico... 

The workday ended with some serious horseplay at Doc Atomic's home and studio just a few blocks from the campus of UNM.  He's a recovering scientist whose specialty is art made with castoffs of the electronic age--circuit boards, wiring, plugs, etc.  Machinas, his version of the Southwestern Kachina dolls so popular in these parts might give you a sense of his sensibilities.
He too has an art car, or truck in this case.  One that started as a picture postcard truck, then a stucco truck to match his house, and finally a Circuit Board pickup, which picked up the Big Ball for some Route 66 joyriding we won't soon forget.  And Doc seemed pretty happy with his RVRR T-Shirt, which he promised he'll take with him next week to France.  Please take some pix, Doc and let us see ourselves in Paree!

Highest Gas of the Trip--$4.29  (diesel) 

1 comment:

Babs said...

You guys will HAVE to head down Mexico way...I've found some "outsider environments" that I think will make you sing! Go to to see some. Larry Harris and the Eyeopener Tour group fom the Orange Show will be here in August!
ROCK on..........