Cor­ner­stones busy work­ing at area churches

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elp­ing com­mu­ni­ties to main­tain tra­di­tional mud-plas­ter fin­ishes on their his­toric churches is a cen­tral part of the Cor­ner­stones Com­mu­nity Part­ner­ships mis­sion, and the or­ga­ni­za­tion is hard at it this sum­mer.

“We’re work­ing on mud­ding in Ojo Caliente right now at St. Mary’s,” Jake Bar­row, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said in­midJune. “It never ceases to amazeme that the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity come out and do that rou­tine and bring food and they love be­ing out there. They called me last year and I put them on the list, and we mo­bi­lized. The ap­pre­ci­a­tion is so strong. We’ll be fin­ished there in late June, then we’re go­ing to El Rito and start on that church, San Juan Ne­po­mu­ceno. We’ll be there for just a cou­ple of weeks in July; it doesn’t need too much work.

“We’re also start­ing on the Ca­sita de Martina at Plaza del Cerro in Chi­mayó and I’ve got a guy fromOhkay Owingeh, Eric Calvert, who’s a mas­ter adobe crafts­man and he’s lead­ing that. I think that’s in­ter­est­ing where a Pue­blo guy is com­ing to help out in Chi­mayo, the tra­di­tional His­panic com­mu­nity, but ev­ery­body is wel­com­ing. I think that’s so spe­cial in New Mex­ico to­day, the co­op­er­a­tion you see in the vil­lages.”

Does he still see women do­ing the plas­ter­ing? That was the ex­clu­sive do­main of the women, who were known as en­jar­rado­ras. “Yes, I do, and I think it was the women who did the plas­ter­ing in the Na­tive­world and the Span­ish adopted that. I have seen older women at San José de Gra­cia Las Tram­paswho take great pride in plas­ter­ing, and I met a woman at Je­mez Pue­blowho does it.”

Cor­ner­stones is also go­ing to be col­lab­o­rat­ing with young peo­ple in­WagonMound who are work­ing on an adobe build­ing for the vet­er­ans there— specif­i­cally for A Vet­eran Af­fair Ed­u­ca­tional Cen­ter for Arts & Cul­tures, whose mis­sion is “to as­sist in the tran­si­tion be­tween mil­i­tary and civil­ian life and re­cov­ery from the traumas of war through ed­u­ca­tion, ex­pres­sion, and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the arts.”

Bar­row also looks for­ward to team­ing up with the Santa Fe In­dian School Lead­er­ship In­sti­tute on a so­lar ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram that will be housed in a John Gaw Meem build­ing. And in­Au­gust, Cor­ner­stones will be­gin work­ing with com- mu­ni­ties in the Mora area on mud-plas­ter re­pair to three churches: San Rafael in La Cueva, San An­to­nio De Padua in Cha­con, and Santo Nino de Atocha in Monte Aplanado.

The adobe brick­mak­ing work­shops re­cently or­ga­nized by Cor­ner­stones and the His­toric Santa Fe Foun­da­tion went off spendidly. “We had 30 or 40 peo­ple a day at the Palace of the Gov­er­nors and SanMiguel Chapel on the four Satur­days in May. We made hun­dreds of adobes that we’re go­ing to be us­ing,” Bar­row said. “One cou­ple came up from Al­bu­querque with their lit­tle daugh­ter and they were hav­ing a great time. The man said, ‘I didn’t know any­thing about this and I asked my wife on Sat­ur­day what she wanted to do for Mother’s Day and she said, “I want to go up to Santa Fe and make bricks.”’ So they hopped on the train and came up here and spent all day mak­ing adobes. On Mother’s day! I thought that­was re­ally cool. We’re de­fi­initely go­ing to do it again next year.”

To vol­un­teer with Cor­ner­stones, call 505-982-9521. The web­site is www.cstones.org.— PaulWei­de­man

PHOTO COUR­TESY JAKE BAR­ROW

Com­mu­nity mem­bers mud-plas­ter­ing the side of the transept at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Ojo Caliente

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