I started collecting authentic material to reconstruct a Santa Fe property. A guy from the village of Mora would bring a pickup truck of materials, doors, windows, floors, vigas, latillas, beams, no Home Depot stuff. I bought it all. Mora had put through an ordinance to tear down adobe houses that couldn’t be rebuilt properly and were dangerous, hence the availability of these precious (to me) materials. The guy (he shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) ) suddenly stopped bringing stuff and I was told they found his body in a field. He was killed by drug dealers.

I (we) completed one house using the materials as sculpture and designing and laying out the materials to define the rooms. I had a few issues with some of the craftsmen that wanted to ‘refine’ the material, sand the flooring, stuff like that. I think I had to act in a threatening manner once or twice and a few years later I discovered a few ‘cheats,’ but that’s how things go. These original elements were fashioned with hand tools and the new guys wanted to work with plug in stuff, because that’s all they knew, but everything was okay in the end, but I didn’t make new friends.

The other house was larger, but I had to abandon the project for whatever reason and still had a wealth of material saved for that. I left it in storage for quite a while but then looked through the pile of stuff and separated these doors. I find them fascinating as they represent entries into these lives…

The various villages had their own craftspeople, carpenters, tinsmiths, enjaradoras (adobe plasterers), adoberas, an interesting, complex mix of necessary and creative craftspeople that imbued their work with their love of God. Their simple lives and simple tools created an honest expression of harmony. Anita once told me that the beauty of this style was that when all was finished the materials would disappear back into the earth.

The villages as they were, are mostly gone, the young people moving away and the traditions disappearing. Adobe has been replaced by Portland Cement (thanks Santa Fe Railroad) although the Anglos still call it adobe. Stucco is another culprit. White people mess up everything. 

These doors represent a sort of transition from the early periods, work done with simple tools, to later periods, more modern door-latches, glass, hinges. It’s by no means a definitive example, but it is a minor record of that village’s history for a time.