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Santa Fe’s Winding Road of Attractive and Sophisticated Collectibles

<i> Merin is a New York City free-lance writer</i>

Canyon Road, a lovely street that winds up through the hilly section of Santa Fe, N.M., is lined with dozens of attractive boutiques and galleries that emphasize collectible contemporary and Indian art, antiques, handcrafts and unusual wearables.

A colony of artists, led by several painters from the East, moved in about 50 years ago when Canyon Road was a dirt heap and property was cheap. They developed the area with the charm and sophistication that still characterizes Canyon Road.

Today, residences and studios are pricey. Canyon Road shops cater to customers seeking an alternative to stores in the center of town. On weekdays you may be the only customer in a shop. On weekends, Canyon Road attracts the crowds.

Canyon Road is more than a mile long, and parking is difficult, particularly on weekends.

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Streets of Taos (No. 200) has new and antique Navajo rugs ($200 and up) in various sizes and colors, plus woodcarvings, American Indian pottery and jewelry.

Chris O’Connell Spider Women Designs (No. 225) offers hand-woven clothes and blankets. Dresses (about $300), men’s and women’s jackets (about $400), ponchos and serapes ($200 and up) in unusual earthy shades are designed for comfort and durability.

Janus Gallery (No. 225), part of the Santa Fe art scene for 18 years, exhibits Paul Pollaro’s geometric and linear collages, Dolona Roberts’ figurative paintings of American Indians, Tina Fuentes’ abstract oils, Jesus Moroles’ granite sculpture and other works. Prices are high.

Scarlett’s Antique Shop and Gallery (No. 225), a good source for unusual gifts priced under $30, has vintage jewelry, pre-1920s post cards, railroad collectibles and antique furniture.

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Morning Star Gallery (No. 513) has museum-quality Native American artifacts--Pueblo, Plains and Northwestern Indian pieces--carefully documented and expensive. On display are 19th-Century Navajo serapes ($45,000), Blackfoot war shirts ($25,000), Kiowa and Arapaho cradles ($3,000 to $8,000) and tomahawks ($2,000 to $5,000).

Linda McAdoo Galleries (No. 503) exhibits figurative, landscape and abstract paintings by Joan Potter, Robert Daughters, Bill Harrison and others; etchings and sculptures by Sandy Scott and Jo Saylors, among others. More unusual items include Maggy Ryan’s hand-woven baskets covered with brightly colored suede and decorated with beads and bear fetishes (from $250).

The Native Market (No. 555) has affordable folk art, including colorful Mexican rugs (from $20), dolls (from $2), wooden snakes ($8) and locally made painted metal silhouettes (from $45).

Silver Sun (No. 656) sells Indian silver jewelry and artifacts, including coyote earrings (from $49), silver and turquoise concho belts (about $1,200), Navajo jeweler Sam Pablo’s rings (from $135), ranger sets, beadwork and Zuni fetishes of bears, turtles and other animals (from $7).

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Tresa Vorenberg Goldsmiths (No. 656) represents 13 major local jewelers. Brian Curley’s crystal necklaces (from $160) and turquoise and silver bolo ties (from $150) and Tresa Vorenberg’s necklaces of gold and lapis (from $700) are wearable art.

Canyon Trading Post (No. 662) specializes in belts, including beaded waistbands ($220), tooled leather belts with engraved silver buckles by David Brighton ($450), horsehair belts ($38 to $48), hatbands and old jewelry.

David E. Brighton, Engraver (No. 702), is keeping an old art alive. This studio/shop is filled with exquisite small engraved pictures of Santa Fe, Western and nature scenes, matted for framing, for $30 and up. Brighton also custom-engraves guns and rifles, knives and other metal objects, plus invitations and announcements.

Santa Fe Weaving and Knitting Center (No. 713) supplies needleworkers and weavers with looms, wooden needles and yarns. Ready-to-wear includes hand-woven silk and rayon long stoles ($150), triangular shawls of silk, rayon and wool ($100), sweaters (some with beading, about $260), and colorful huge knitted throws ($275 and up) for bed or couch.

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Judy’s Santa Fe Style (No. 714) has attractive casual clothes with a Western look, plus accessories. There are cotton circle skirts in bright colors ($45) and muslin shirts ($37). Rayon ponchos, blouses and skirts (about $50 each) can be dressed up or down, and there are lots of decorative scarfs ($15 and up) and fake concho belts ($69 to $73) made of etched ovals of base metal (instead of the traditional silver) with a narrow strip of black, brown or red leather strung through them.

Indian Knives

Toys For Big Boys (No. 720) has cowboy and Indian collectibles, including pre-1898 marshal’s badges ($100 and up), guns and holsters, Indian knives and contemporary turquoise rings (from $22).

Desert Son (No. 725), a leather accessories shop, sells its own line of handmade and special-order moccasins with one, three or five buttons, or knee-high. Prices from $145 to $330. Buffalo, elk, goat or bear hides are used with abalone, antler and Indian-head nickel buttons. Soles vary from lightweight crepe to heavy-duty Vibram.

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The shop also has belt buckles ($88 and up) and matching collar tips ($28 and up) made of base metal and silver, some with turquoise or other stone inlay. The buckles may be used with the shop’s tooled leather or braided horsehair belts ($45 to $50). The wide variety of beaded objects includes bracelets ($25), chokers ($40), hair fasteners ($32 to $40), key rings ($24 and up), stick pins ($14), bottle openers ($20) and salt and pepper shakers ($48 a pair).

Jewelry Boxes

A Mano (No. 822) has wonderful handmade furniture, including Mexican wormwood tables ($425) and hutches ($675), plus accessories such as a wooden cross ($225), painted bowls ($20) and multi-drawer jewelry boxes ($125).

The Saddle Shop (No. 830) makes custom saddles. Prices begin at $1,750 for these hand-tooled leather works of art. The shop also sells riding accessories, including Navajo rugs and blankets ($200 and up), beaded and fringed handmade suede gloves ($150 to $200), suspenders ($185) and riding boots (some with decorative beading, $160 and up).

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World Arts (No. 836) has clothes and accessories imported from Indonesia. There are quilted overnight bags ($180), leather and straw portfolios ($85), quilted coats with gold and wooden buttons ($185), leather vests ($250), batik scarfs ($40), sweatshirts ($50) and peacock feather earrings ($15).


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