Tag Archives: shiny rocks

Antonito

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One year I went to the tiny (population 781) town of Antonito, Colorado for Labor Day weekend. The town was hosting a free music festival in the park and for a ridiculously small fee, I was able to sell my wares all weekend.

I arrived in town early Saturday morning and found the festival organizer among a group of men setting up the stage. The organizer showed me where I could put my tables. I unloaded the tables, my hemp jewelry, my shiny rocks. I arranged everything nicely on the tables and waited for the crowds of music fans to arrive.

The first band took the stage. A few of their friends stood around to listen. The next band took the stage. Fans from Santa Fe had made the drive to the festival, including the grandmother of one of the band members. At no point during the weekend were there more than a dozen people in the audience for any musician. I quickly understood why the vending fee was so low.

A family set up a table perpendicular to mine. They sold water and sodas cold from an ice chest and homemade burritos wrapped in foil. Otherwise, I was the only vendor at the festival.

I made a little bit of money, despite the lack of attendance. Mostly I sold shiny rocks to people living nowhere near a rock shop. I sold a few necklaces after I offered people great deals, and I sold some bracelets too. I suppose I paid for my gas to get out there and the breakfast I ate at a restaurant on Sunday morning.

One of Antonito’s claims to fame is being the childhood home of Indiana Jones from the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie. Of course, Indiana Jones is a fictional character, so he never had a childhood, but in one of the movies, a young Indy is shown in front of a house. That house stands in Antonito, CO. I didn’t care enough to find it.

My favorite part of my two days in Antonito was Saturday morning’s Labor Day parade on the town’s main drag. The number of observers of the parade was slightly larger than that of the music festival. There weren’t any floats in a New Orleans sense, but some people stood in the back of slow-moving pickup trucks and waved to their neighbors. Someone from the Forest Service had dressed in a Smokey Bear costume and stood waving from the back of a government truck.

I stood on the sidewalk and watched the parade go by. It was pretty short. The whole thing passed in under ten minutes. But wait! There’s more, or at least the same thing all over again. When the parade got to its endpoint, all the vehicles turned around and came back down the main drag from the opposite direction. I guess when a parade’s that short, once isn’t enough.

I took this photo of Smokey the Bear,

The Ten Best Things about Truth or Consequences, NM

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The New Mexico towns I’ve spent the most time in are Taos and Truth or Consequences. Each is special in its own way to me. In my next two posts, I’ll share my ten favorite things about each town. Since I was in Truth or Consequences when I wrote this post, I’ll start there.

The Ten Best Things About Truth or Consequences

#1 My favorite thing in T or C (as the locals call the town) are the historic bathhouses with hot mineral water for soaking. Especially when it’s cold out, I love to soak in that hot, hot water. (Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

#2 The town has a really cool name. Originally the town was called Hot Springs, NM, but in 1950, it became Truth or Consequences to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the radio program of the same name. (Read more about the name change here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/04/truth-or-consequences-nm/.) I appreciate the reminder to tell the truth or face the consequences.

#3 T or C is warm (or at least warmish) in the winter. When Northern New Mexico is too cold for me, I head south to this town in the Chihuahua Desert. According to https://weatherspark.com/averages/31751/Truth-or-Consequences-New-Mexico-United-States,

The cold season lasts from November 22 to February 14 with an average daily high temperature below 59°F. The coldest day of the year is December 25, with an average low of 28°F and high of 50°F.

#4 Miner’s Claim (318 N Broadway Street) is one of the best rock shops I’ve ever visited. The store is crammed packed with gems, minerals, beads, incense, jewelry, knickknacks, and shiny rocks. The guy behind the counter owns the store, and he’s friendly and knowledgeable. While he does stock high-end items, his prices are fair, and there’s plenty in the store for folks on a limited budget.

The turtle that gives Turtleback Mountain its name.

#5 There’s a turtle reclining on one of the mountains overlooking the town! I love geological formations that look like animals!  (To read more about Turtleback Mountain, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/25/another-geologic-formation-that-looks-like-an-animal/.)

The sculpture Joy, by R. William Winkler with one of the Pelican Spa buildings in the background.

#6 Truth or Consequences is an art town, and I don’t just mean the work on display in galleries. The town boasts lots of great art on public walls and in front of businesses. From murals to sculptures, there’s lots of cool art to see while walking around T or C. (Read more about the art in T or C here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/10/art-in-truth-or-consequences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/12/more-art-in-truth-or-consequences/.)

#7 The town is so into art, it has an Art Hop on the second Saturday of each month. (https://www.facebook.com/Truth-or-Consequences-Art-Hop-2nd-Saturday-of-every-month-6-9pm-188812578899/) The Art Hop is a great excuse to meet up with friends and see what’s new in the galleries. (For a list of art galleries and shops in Truth or Consequences, go here: https://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/shopping/art/.)

#8 The plants are cool in T or C. There are more cacti here than in the Taos area, and the ornamental rosemary grows in huge bushes. I like to break a small branch of rosemary off a bush and tuck it behind my ear for a smell more delicious than any perfume. The last time The Man and I left T or C, we cut several large pieces of rosemary from a plant in front of a gas station and arranged it on the dashboard for a great smelling van.

The Rio Grande as seen from Rotary Park.

#9 Folks can get up close and personal with the Rio Grande in Truth or Consequences. The river runs right through town. It’s accessible from Ralph Edwards Park, as well as Rotary Park. People fish in the river from Rotary Park and south of it too. If a person wanted to, s/he could wade right into the Rio Grande in T or C.

A panoramic view of Elephant Butte Lake from the campground in the state park.

#10 If the Rio Grande isn’t enough water for a desert dweller, T or C is less than ten miles from the 40,000 acre Elephant Butte Lake State Park. According to https://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/elephant-butte-lake-map/, Elephant Butte Lake is New Mexico’s largest body of water. The lake offers miles of trails, two marinas, sandy beaches, fishing, boating,  and a campground.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Any questions about Truth or Consequences can be left in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them.

More Necklaces

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Today I am sharing with you more of the necklaces I’ve made with my own little hands. All of these necklaces are for sale. I did the hemp work, but I did not make the pendants unless otherwise noted.

The necklace on the left is made from natural hemp and wooden beads. It is 21 inches long. It costs $11, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a goldstone bear on pink and black hemp. It is 14 inches long, and costs $11, including shipping. The necklace on the right is made from black and natural hemp. The carved bone pendant features an ankh. It is 20 inches long and costs $11, including shipping costs.

The necklace on the left is made from natural hemp and wooden beads. It is 21 inches long. It costs $10, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a goldstone bear on pink and black hemp. It is 14 inches long, and costs $10, including shipping. The necklace on the right is made from black and natural hemp. The carved bone pendant features an ankh. It is 20 inches long and costs $10, including shipping costs.

 

The 16 inch necklace on the left is made from black and green hemp and has a simple pendent I made. The stone is serpentine, which is believed to help one feel more in control of one's spiritual life and the aid meditation. It costs $16, including postage. The necklace in the middle is 20 inches long and made from black and purple hemp. The stone is amethyst, which is believed to support sobriety; guard against panic attacks; and dispels anger, rage, fear, and anxiety. It costs $18, including postage. The necklace on the right is 20 inches long and made from brown and black hemp. The pendant and the accent stones are carnelian which is believed to stimulate creativity, calm anger, promote positive life choices and remove fear of death. This necklace costs $16, including postage costs.

The 16 inch necklace on the left is made from black and green hemp and has a simple pendent I made. The stone is serpentine, which is believed to help one feel more in control of one’s spiritual life and to aid meditation. The wire is copper. The necklace costs $16, including postage. The necklace in the middle is 20 inches long and made from black and purple hemp. The stone is amethyst, which is believed to support sobriety; guard against panic attacks; and dispel anger, rage, fear, and anxiety. It costs $18, including postage. The necklace on the right is 20 inches long and made from brown and black hemp. The pendant and the accent stones are carnelian which is believed to stimulate creativity, calm anger, promote positive life choices, and remove fear of death. I turned this stone into a pendant using copper wire. This necklace costs $16, including postage costs.

 

This necklace is made from natural hemp. The frog pendant and the accent stones are made from carved bone. It is 16 inches long and costs $11, including postage.

This necklace is made from natural hemp. The frog pendant and the accent stones are made from carved bone. It is 16 inches long and costs $10, including postage.

 

I made the pendant on the necklace on the left. The hemp is purple and black. The stone is a double quartz crystal. Quartz is believed to be a powerful healer and energy amplifier that unlocks memory. This necklace is 21 inches long and costs $18, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a skull pendant carved from smoked yak bone with hematite accent beads. Hematite is believed to dissolve negativity and enhance willpower. The pink and blue hemp portion is 17 inches long. The cost, including shipping is $18. The necklace on the right features a pendant I made. The stone is rose quartz from South Dakota. Rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. It is believed to encourage self-forgiveness. This necklace is 20 inches long and features pink and black hemp. The cost is $15, including shipping.

I made the pendant on the necklace on the left using copper wire. The hemp is two shades of purple. The stone is a double quartz crystal. Quartz is believed to be a powerful healer and energy amplifier that unlocks memory. This necklace is 21 inches long and costs $18, including shipping. The middle necklaces features a skull pendant carved from smoked yak bone and an hematite accent bead. Hematite is believed to dissolve negativity and enhance willpower. The pink and blue hemp portion is 17 inches long. The wire is copper. The cost of the necklace, including shipping, is $18. The necklace on the right features a pendant I made using copper wire. The stone is rose quartz from South Dakota. Rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. It is believed to encourage self-forgiveness. This necklace is 20 inches long and features pink and black hemp. The cost is $15, including shipping.

 

Both of these necklaces are made from natural hemp and feature pendants I made using copper wire and white onyx stones. (I did not carve the stones or drill the holes in them. I used stones that had already been shaped and drilled to make pendants.) White onyx is believed to aid in learning lessons. It's also believed to promote vigor and give strength. The necklace with the star pendant is 18 inches long. The necklace with the moon pendant is 15 inches long. The stones on both pendant are quite large. Each necklace costs $11, including shipping.

Both of these necklaces are made from natural hemp and feature pendants I made using copper wire and white onyx stones. (I did not carve the stones or drill the holes in them. I used stones that had already been shaped and drilled to make pendants.) White onyx is believed to aid in learning lessons. It’s also believed to promote vigor and give strength. The necklace with the star pendant is 18 inches long. The necklace with the moon pendant is 15 inches long. The stones on both pendant are quite large. Each necklace costs $11, including shipping.

 

These two necklaces feature dice I drilled. The necklaces made from black hemp is 15 inches long. The necklace made from natural hemp is 20 inches long and has black and white accent beads.

These two necklaces feature dice I drilled. The necklaces made from black hemp is 15 inches long. The necklace made from natural hemp is 20 inches long and has black and white accent beads. Each die has the number 5 front and center, but it may be possible to move the die to feature another number. Each of these necklaces cost $10, including shipping. I have other drilled dice, so I could possibly do a custom order of a necklace with a die on it.

 

I took all of the photos in this post.

Bead Angel

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I was homeless, living in a picnic pavilion at a busy tourist area. (Read about how I got there here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/11/hummingbird/.)

I started earning a little money by making sage sticks to sell to tourists. To my surprise, people actually bought them. I took the money I earned and bought a couple of balls of hemp, some glass beads, a pair of scissors, and a tape measure. I made bracelets and necklaces from the hemp and beads, and to my surprise, people bought the jewelry too. In fact, I sold so many bracelets, I ran out of supplies to make more.

I hitchhiked into town early one morning. I walked through town to Stuff-Mart to get glass beads. The store was out of the jumbo pack of the beads with large holes that I wanted. Grrr! I found a smaller pack of beads with large holes, and while I wasn’t crazy about them, I decided they would do. I brought them up to the cash register. The cashier scanned them, and the register gave her some sort of message. She told me the beads had been recalled, and she couldn’t sell them to me.

I was furious and worried. I needed those beads. My livelihood literally depended on those beads.

I stalked out of Stuff-Mart and stomped down to the nearby thrift store, thinking maybe I’d find something there I could use. When I walked in, the women working there noticed my backpack and asked if I were a traveler. I said I was (which was close enough to what was going on with me) and then told them the saga of my day. I told them I sold jewelry to tourists at the Bridge and needed beads that Stuff-Mart didn’t have. I was the only customer in the store, and the ladies listened sympathetically to me.

One of the women said she had a bunch of beads her daughter-in-law had left behind when she moved out. She said she wasn’t going to use them, so she’d give them to me.

What an angel! What a miracle!

Several days later the Jewelry Lady picked up a big plastic container from the Bead Angel. At the Jewelry Lady’s casita, we sorted through the contents. In addition to glass and metal beads, we found many beautiful stones. There were large aventurine and turquoise teardrops, bars of snowflake obsidian for making bracelets, and an absolutely gorgeous piece of rainbow obsidian.

It was such a wonderful gift. Those nice stone beads helped me make necklaces for which I could ask higher prices. I was incredibly grateful

NeoTribal The Gathering Part 2

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Photo I took in the Healing Garden.

Photo I took in the Healing Garden.

Even before my tent was totally set up the way I wanted it, people were stopping by to chat and to buy things. Before the day was over, I’d paid my vending fee, plus a tiny profit. It’s nice to make enough to cover the vending fee on the first day of a multi-day event so I can quit worrying about my expenses and just bask in the profits.

I took this photo of my vending setup at NeoTribal The Gathering. I put up the curtain walls to block the sun, but they also gave me a tiny bit of privacy at night.

I took this photo of my vending setup at NeoTribal The Gathering. I put up the curtain walls to block the sun, but they also gave me a tiny bit of privacy when I slept in the tent at night.

I quit trying to sell as soon as the sun set. I don’t have a generator, and there were no electrical outlets nearby, so even if I had brought electric lights, I couldn’t have used them. I didn’t try make any sales by the light of my two small lanterns.By the time I closed up the tent and had some dinner (which consisted of mashed potatoes so I wouldn’t lose my crown which was held in with temporary adhesive), I was too tired to think about partying.

I wasn’t sure about where to sleep. I knew I’d probably be more physically comfortable in the van, but I wasn’t 100% confident that my merchandise would be safe if I left it alone. I decided to sleep in my vending tent, so I schlepped over Nolagirl’s plastic tarp and one of my layers of memory foam, my pillow, my sheet, and my new Ikea blanket. I folded the tarp in two, laid it on the ground, then put my memory foam on top. Such comfort!

I didn’t even have to go anywhere to hear music. I was situated between two stages, so I spent the night in the middle of a perpetual electronic dance music mashup. Both my body and mind were tired, and I slipped into something of a trance state between sleep and wakefulness. It was sort of like being high without any of the problems of being on drugs.

I can’t say I slept well. Sleeping on the ground would have been more comfortable with two layers of memory foam between it and me. I was a little bit too warm too. At some point after the music stopped, I woke up to some guy yelling. I don’t remember what nonsense he was shouting, but I sighed and rolled over, thinking what a relief it was to be unaffiliated with the man losing his shit and screaming in the darkness. Later, the wind picked up and the side curtains repeatedly blew in my face. I worried about the stability of the pop up, but it held up fine. All ended well, and I got a few more hours of sleep.

Saturday was much of the same, although I (thankfully) didn’t have to haul, unpack, and set up all of my merchandise again. Being able to stay set up was such a blessing.

I took this photo of my rock table at NeoTribal The Gathering.

My rock table at NeoTribal The Gathering.

No way were there 500 people at the event. I think an estimate of 200 would be a generous exaggeration of the actual head count. I did well for the number of people who passed by my booth (and most people who passed by did stop and take a look at least once), but I did not do as well as I expect I would have done with a crowd of 500. Actually, it’s probably a good thing 500 people didn’t attend the festival. I don’t know if the four flush toilets (two in the women’s restroom and–I presume– two in the men’s), plus the five portable toilets could have comfortablly accommodated 500 people.

I think because I was in my tent with curtains closed by 8pm on both nights, I didn’t see much drug use. A couple of ladies came into my tent early on Saturday afternoon, and they were acting just a little strangely, and I wondered if they were high.They might have been just a little socially awkward. On Friday night, I heard some guys right outside my tent talking about “molly,” and I don’t think they were discussing a female friend.

However, a woman I’d gotten friendly with over the weekend told me early on Sunday morning that she’d been woken up in the wee hours of the morning by a couple she was confident was high on ecstasy fucking (her word) right outside of her tent. She said their heads were hitting the side of her tent. She said another ecstasy couple was also fucking (her word again) very close to her tent. The ridiculousness of the whole situation was that there was so much open space nearby but not close to any tents where these couples could have gone and not bothered anyone.

On Sunday afternoon, a fellow did ask me if I traded for “herbal medicine.” I told him no, I don’t use it.  Then I felt I had to explain that although I don’t use it, I don’t think it’s wrong, but in fact I don’t use it, and no one in my immediate vicinity uses it, so I really have no desire to trade for it. He seemed to understand, even though my explanation felt really clumsy to me.

The one other time I knew drugs were around was when I went up to the amphitheater because I had been told the closing ceremony was about to happen there. When I got up there, a reggae band started playing instead. The band’s front man immediately started singing about Israel and I got a huge whiff of weed. I realized the closing ceremony was not about to happen up there, so I left to finish packing up to leave. I’m not surprised (or even offended) by smelling ganja or hearing about Israel at a reggae show, but it’s not what I wanted to be doing at that moment.

Sign in the Healing Garden. Photo by me.

Sign in the Healing Garden.

One thing that was really cool about the event was the age diversity of the folks who attended. There were families with babies and little kids, and much of the time, those kids were running around playing together. There were, of course, lots of young adult there for the music and dancing (and the sex and drugs too, for some of them.) I saw older couples and met a few women (probably in the 45 to 55 age range) going through divorces who had come for a day of healing away from their (soon to be) ex husbands. Several of my customers (including the young man who offered to trade for herbal medicine) were hanging out with their moms. Many festivals I’ve been to have been attended mostly by very young adults, so it was good to be somewhere with a wider range of ages. I think the age diversity was at least partially due to older folks coming to give and receive healing in the Healing Garden, as well as older folks coming for the drumming in the Heartbeat Village.

According the the NeoTribal The Gathering website information on Heartbeat Village (http://neotribalthegathering.com/heartbeat/),

It is said that the drum is the heartbeat of mother earth  and those that have lost their rhythm, have lost their connection to the planet…

For some there is a need to find that rhythm again for others there is a hunger to deepen that relationship to the earth  but for all there is a connection to each other and the planet through the Drum. Join us in the HEARTBEAT of Neotribal a space to create learn and experience healing through music dance and sharing. Instruments Drums and percussion will be provided by Neotribal free of charge for all that attend our workshops…

The ethnic diversity of NeoTribal The Gathering was a bit better than some of the festivals I’ve been to where all I saw were white people. As is typical in the Southwest, in addition to all the ostensibly white people, there were quite a few Latino/as. In addition there were some native Americans and a few African Americans in attendance. Again, I think it was the drumming circles and workshops that brought much of that diversity to the festival.

Overall, I’m glad I attended NeoTribal The Gathering, especially since I didn’t have to pay to park or camp. I made just about the amount of money I wanted to make. It’s always nice to meet my goal.

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When Ms. Reiki tried to give me postcards to hand out before the festival, I told her that I don’t really know people in the area. She told me I’d make 40 new friends at the gathering. That was an exaggeration too, although I did have some good conversations with people (and shared a couple of nice hugs). I gave me card to folks I suspect I’ll never hear from again (and no one have his/her card to me.)

I don’t pretend to understand how the Universe works or why I end up at any particular place at any particular time. Maybe I was at NeoTribal The Gathering just to give a guy with dreadlocks and tattoos a good price on a piece of danburite that I’d been hauling around and putting out on my table for months. Or maybe I was there to listen to the older Navajo women attending the event with her son; I suspect I might have been the only other person there she felt she could relate to. Maybe my role was to offer my ear to the woman who needed to vent about the couple fucking against her tent. Maybe I was needed simply to provide a bag of ice for the elders’ luncheon when the organizers forgot to buy some.

I can’t really say why I was there, but I hope I did my part.

Bracelets and necklaces decorated with beads, baubles, and trinkets.

Bracelets and necklaces decorated with beads, baubles, and trinkets.

Pendants of wire wrapped stones by James Smith. Hemp work by me.

Pendants of wire wrapped stones by James Smith. Hemp work by me.

Necklace with pendant of skull carved from smoked yak bone and turquoise.

Necklace with pendant of skull carved from smoked yak bone with turquoise accent bead.

All photos in this post were taken by me.