Blue Rain Gallery
A regular presence at the renowned SOFA (Sculpture Objects and Functional Art) annual fair in Chicago, this gallery represents a roster of well-known regional contemporary talent, including glass artists Nancy Callan, Dante Marioni and Jeremy Lepisto, Santa Clara Pueblo potter Tammy Garcia and Pueblo painter Sean O’Neill.
Case Trading Post
Santa Fe is ground zero for all things silver and turquoise, and the lower-level Trading Post at the excellent Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is a good place for jewelry lovers to start. Modeled on a Navajo trading post of the turn of the last century, it’s stocked with beautiful pieces, a mix of antique and contemporary. The friendly staffers extremely knowledgeable (and as serious about their work as the salespeople at Tiffany), and are happy to share the stories about the artists, many of whom have worked with the Trading Post for decades. Besides jewelry, there are Native American books, pottery and textiles for sale. The products are expensive but, according to many Santa Fe locals, the real deal.
Stuffed wall to wall with whimsical gifts, toys and gadgets, Doodlet’s is pure Santa Fe. A downtown fixture since 1955 – the elderly owner, Theo Raven, is one of the town’s most beloved characters – the spacious shop carries everything from children’s books and old-fashioned candy to New Mexico folk art and Mexican-inspired furniture.
The Zuni of New Mexico, one of nineteen Pueblo tribes, are famous for their pottery, jewelry and fetishes. The venerable Keshi boutique (named after the traditional greeting of the Zuni people) specializes in the latter: small carved animal fetishes that are often referred to as good-luck charms but are, in fact, to be carried as a reminder of our connection to nature. The carved fetishes sold at this co-op are made in a variety of materials, including stone, marble, antler and serpentine. Many are adorned with turquoise, coral or mother of pearl. Handmade and truly Santa Fe, they’re authentic mementos.
Morning Star Gallery
If you’re interested in Native American art – antique and contemporary – the Morning Star Gallery should top your list of places to visit. Its display shelves are lined with museum-quality items, from pottery and baskets to fashion and jewelry, and the staff is well informed and happy to share stories about the exquisite handicrafts. You can always find interesting smaller pieces, such as a Sioux beaded baby bonnet – dating from 1880 and made with incredible skill and care.
Museum of International Folk Art Shop
This fashion and home-furnishings boutique on Canyon Road is a must for aspiring cowboys and Wild West aficionados. The whimsical shop, well-edited by Nathalie Kent (a former accessories editor at Vogue), carries everything from leather revolver holsters to thick leather belts with massive buckles; mixed in are real (and wearable) finds like tulle-layered party frocks, chic prairie shirts and coats embellished with beads. Of course, you can also order custom-made cowboy boots in a variety of skins.
Nedra Matteucci Galleries
Many consider this boutique, near the Palace of the Governors, the best for contemporary Native American art. The store, which opened in 1945, is renowned for its large selection of historic photographs by Edward Curtis, the famous photographer who documented Native American life in the early 20th century; he took more than 40,000 photographic images of more than eighty tribes. (Sadly, financial hardship forced him to sell the rights to the majority of his most important works.) When shopping at the Rainbow Man, don’t miss the innovative contemporary jewelry collection.
Todos Santos Chocolates
Hidden in the courtyard that also holds La Casa Sena, this tiny shop sells a variety of handcrafted chocolates that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Owner and self-taught chocolatier Hayward Simoneaux presides over such flavor combinations as spicy red chile with dark chocolate and silky dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt. He works with a paper artist on the packaging, so these tasty nibbles are a wonderful gift to bring home. The store also stocks other chocolate (deemed worthy enough) from around the world, as well as more whimsical Santa Fe products, including the artsy renditions of Pez dispensers by local folk artist Steve White.
The Wiford Gallery is hard to miss, thanks to its large garden filled with the kinetic wind sculptures of Utah artist Lyman Whitaker. Resembling giant windmills of varying heights and sprouting spoon-like extensions that pedal furiously in the wind, the copper and stainless steel installations serve as an appropriate introduction to one of Canyon Road’s best-known galleries. Wiford focuses on contemporary art, particularly large, interesting sculptures by artists including Christopher Ries, Dwight Bennet, Christopher White and David Nittmann (wood). A sign outside also announces that the gallery holds works by Pablo Picasso, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol that can be viewed on request.