Southwest Spanish Craftsmen

Date January 14, 2008 at 11:00 PM

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Maintaining Tradition in Santa Fe

For centuries New Mexico has maintained a tradition of excellence in craft and fine furniture. In 1598 Juan de Oñate began an expedition that pioneered the permanent settlement of the Rio Grande Valley, from Taos in the north to Soccoro in the south. When his army was inspected, soldier Francisco Hernandez Cordero declared "a complete set of tools for my trade as carpenter."€ Six other soldiers listed specialized carpenters tools as well. Chisels, adzes, and axes accompanied the first Spaniards into the area and have been instrumental in the shaping of this part of the world as we know it.

Carpinteros are skilled Spanish woodworkers. The woodworker's trade is the art of transforming raw material into a cultural artifact for the use of a client. Active in New Mexico from the very first years of Spanish settlement, carpinteros made doors and windows, shaped beams, and created furniture. They have maintained this art in the Southwestern United States for over 400 years, and the company Southwest Spanish Craftsmen continues to maintain that tradition.

A small wood shop employing 10 craftsmen, Southwest Spanish Craftsmen builds custom heirloom furniture in Santa Fe and has done so since 1927. Now in their 80th year, Southwest Spanish Craftsmen continues to transform raw wood into functional works of art for their clients. Each piece is hand crafted - extraordinary by today's standards. The mortise and tenon joints are formed by hand, the finishing; sanding, waxing, and staining is done by hand as was done by the area's first carpinteros centuries ago. Theirs is not the business of furniture replication, though they are capable in that respect. New designs are always in the works, using old world traditions to create furniture with today's functionality, style, and sense of proportion. Southwest Spanish Craftsmen truly creates artifacts for their clients: custom, quality, and always hand crafted.

Three years ago Southwest Spanish Craftsmen expanded to include Nussbaumer Fine Art Gallery. Striving to offer a complete aesthetic, the gallery exhibits work by today's masters alongside the exquisite furniture of Southwest Spanish Craftsmen. Unlike traditional galleries, you will find the finest work by contemporary, impressionist, and traditional artists shown in a context similar to that of a collector's home.

Located in the trendy Guadalupe-Railyard District, Southwest Spanish Craftsmen and Nussbaumer Fine Art is in the heart of the newest art scene in Santa Fe. The gallery is staffed by the Nussbaumer family; Roger, Ruth, Marc and Julia. Contributing to the tradition, Roger's father was headmaster of a woodworking school in Switzerland. Visit this gallery for a quintessentially Santa Fe experience in a museum-like, expansive historic building.

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