albuquerque and heading home…tile house and tinkertown!

Tile House—Beverley Magennis

Private home
Albuquerque, NM
Created 1984 through 1995

It started with Beverley Magennis, ceramics professor at the local college, creating a tile mosaic border around the doorway.  For the next 11 years, she covered the house, inside and out with colorful tiles, pennies, cereal boxes, yard sticks, bottle caps, etc.  And then the following year, she left.  Moved out, and her daughter Erin, moved back in.
Beginning in 2006, Erin (a tile mosaic artist, and art car creator) and her husband have been completely restoring the home, where weather and water caused damage.  Working in sections on webbing, they then attach the tiles to the house…much like Father Dobberstein at the Grotto of Redemption (something to do in the winter.)  The house itself is stunning.
The bigger surprise is when you walk in. (by the by, this is a private residence and Erin is a private person…not really wanting folks to just drop by)  The first room you see is covered in bottlecaps, the living room has a loft-like ceiling created with cereal box fronts, a wall of pennies, and clever tile tromp-l’oeil book shelf.  A similar medicine cabinet is found in the bathroom.  The ceiling of the bedroom is covered in “do not disturb” door hangers, and tile curtains surround the windows.
As we were leaving, Larry and Margaret were planning continued explorations for a future Orange Show Eyeopener tour, and fond good byes were bid.
Tinkertown—Carla and Ross Ward
Ross Ward 1941-2002
Sandia Park, NM
Created 1983-2002
Alas, after a great lunch Sophia’s (near the tile house), it was time for me to bid adieu to the guys.  I need to return to the “real” world by Sunday, and am looking at about a 13 hour trek.  OK, so I don’t get more than 15 miles down the road and I realize that I HAVE to make a slight detour to Sandia Park to visit the legendary Tinkertown.  I tried to visit a year or so ago, but it had been closed for the season.  This stop was very worth the night driving (I don’t dig driving a lot at night…too hard to see).  
“I did all this while you were watching TV”
– Ross Ward
Created by Ross and Carla Ward, after travels all over the country with a previous career of circus and side show sign painting.  That training, coupled with Ross’ prolific artistic endeavors (painting, carving, bottle wall building) has culminated in one incredible site.  
When you pull up, you are greeted by a great bottle wall (inspired by Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village in CA) with a western flair (and a coupla very friendly pups). OK, this is cool…but wait…pay your paltry admission of $3 and be ready to pick your jaw up off t
he floor.  (great gift shop, by the by…be sure to get quarters for upcoming visual delights!)  First, you realize that you now get to see the light through the bottles, which completely inspires me to do something with all those bottles that I have been saving. 
Ross has created incredible vignettes of miniature villages, old west scenes, saloons, and circus’ that can’t be (and shouldn’t be) described…you have to see it.  Sadly, in 1988, at the too young age of 57, Ross was diagnosed with Alzheimers, and passed away a mere 4 1/2 years later in November 2002. His wife Carla still takes care of the site (and gave me a tour of their private quarters, full of more of Ross’ artistic creations, carvings and painting are everywhere.)  She is trying to figure out a plan for the site, with relocation an option….
Located on Highway 536 on the way to Sandia Crest. Take Exit 175 North off I-40. After exiting I-40, take Highway 14 six miles up the mountain through Cedar Crest and turn left on Highway 536.
Odometer – 2576
Cartunes – my cd player has been acting up…so I opted for a “This American Life” marathon…tomorrow there will be music.