Tucumcari gets crafty this weekend

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Tow truck driver Jinnah Bates said she remembers Tucumcari’s annual C.R.A.F.T. Arts and Craft Show quite well. After all, it’s where she bought the denim embroidered shirt adorned with horses she wore to business dinners – and then to an emergency call.

“I was having coffee with five of my girlfriends when the call came in,” Bates said. “I had on nice cowboy boots, a denim skirt and the shirt. When I got to the scene, there was a pickup truck under 12 feet of water. Someone said, ‘You shouldn’t have worn your good boots.’”

Thankfully, Bates said, the truck was hauled out of the water without a hitch (or maybe technically with one) and the help of three officials on the scene. Bates said although she got her boots dirty, her outfit was not completely ruined.

“That shirt’s gone through a few things,” Bates laughed, adding it still hangs in its western glory in her closet today.

In addition to embroidered denim shirts, this year’s C.R.A.F.T. show, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in the Quay County Exhibit Hall at the fairgrounds, will feature all types of art for all types of people, according to C.R.A.F.T. member Vickie Wallace.

“We will have a broad range of artists from categories including basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, wearable art and wood,” Wallace said. “It’s a great place to do Christmas shopping.”

Not only will the artists be glad to sell you their wares, Wallace said, but they’ll be glad to go into detail about how they’re made. And she said they expect more crowds – of both buyers and sellers – than in the fair’s 34-year history.

“We are doing more advertising than ever before all over the state,” Wallace said, adding the artisans who participate come from various parts of New Mexico – and beyond.

Bates herself is a Tucumcari transplant, spending many years in Florida before coming west. No, she said she didn’t move to Tucumcari just to be near the C.R.A.F.T. show, but she makes a point of attending every year, with the infamous shirt purchased at the first fair she attended in 2001.

“Especially not being from around here, it is amazing to see so many people making so many different things,” Bates said. “Not being someone who sews or a quilter myself, I was incredibly impressed. Those women are so talented.”

Of course, men participate, too, Bates said, but she most vividly recalls the women with their sewing – mainly because she bought the embroidered shirt and a handmade blanket.

In fact, all items are handmade by the exhibitors and admission to the public is free.

C.R.A.F.T., a non-profit organization which stands for Crafters, Rockhounds, Artists Fair in Tucumcari, can be reached for more information at 461-3721.

What: Annual C.R.A.F.T. Arts and Craft Show
When: Saturday and Sunday
Where: Quay County Exhibit Hall
Who: Hundreds of artists with handmade items
Open to the general public; admission is free

What: Drawing for Five Mile Park fund-raiser
When: 2 p.m. Sunday during the C.R.A.F.T. fair

Winner gets a quilt that’s now on display at Wells Fargo Bank.
For more information or to purchase a $5 ticket for a chance to win, call Robert Pacheco at 461-4403.