Everything is Everything Else, at least in New Mexico

In my last post, I described a paper-making class my husband and I took in Abiqui, New Mexico. We discovered more examples of upcycling in this land of enchantment.


Yurt skirt made of old sweaters
In downtown Albuquerque, we saw this unusual costume in an art gallery window. This yurt-dress appears to be made from old sweaters in many shades of green. I think that's moss for the bodice. Unfortunately, the gallery was closed, so we couldn't investigate.

Most of the upcycling we saw here was large-scale -- as in buildings! Part of old Route 66, Albuquerque is home to iconic American architecture, and the city has done a pretty good job of preserving it.

This old Ford dealership, for instance, is a fun restaurant. I love how they've transformed the "Ford" logo into "Food." Should we worry about the patio heaters so close to the old fuel pumps?
Albuquerque restaurant
Another landmark-turned-restaurant is the Flying Star Cafe, a gas company building from the 1920s. They've retained the art deco styling inside and out.
Flying Star Cafe in downtown Albuquerque

Flying Star Cafe in downtown Albuquerque

Flying Star Cafe in downtown Albuquerque
The food is terrific, too!

We took a walk through the trendy Nob Hill neighborhood, near the University of New Mexico campus. This cylindrical portion of this adobe house used to be the neighborhood's reservoir. 
Old reservoir turned into house

Tinkertown Museum 

The Turquoise Trail connects Albuquerque and Santa Fe. More than 1000 years old, the road is now a National Scenic Byway and in good weather it makes for a great drive. About half-way, if you're looking, you'll spot the Tinkertown Museum, a must-see for anyone who likes whimsy, upcycling, and folk art. 
Tinkertown Museum
Everywhere you look, old junk has been turned into art -- or at least fun, useful stuff. Entire walls are constructed out of old glass bottles. 
Tinkertown Museum
The labyrinthine wooden building houses dozes of humorous and edifying vignettes, hand-crafted over many years by a single artist -- Ross Ward. Often, he used trash or scrap wood and metal to fashion his mini-masterpieces. Take a close look at this soda fountain (click the image to enlarge it).
Tinkertown Museum
A nearby sign explains:
"The old-time Soda Parlor is a good example of a re-cycled building. The bar is an old sewing machine drawer. The marble tables are linoleum samples. The fan is a wooden drawer pull. The Coke dispenser is a thread spool. The floor is a shoe box cover. This whole collection relates: 'Everything is Everything Else!' -- R.J. Ward"


Farther down the road sits Madrid an old mining town. (By the way, it's pronounced MAD-rid, not like the city in Spain.) Artists have moved in, and a few shops offer upcycled treasures, like these scrap-metal sea life.
Shark made of scrap metal

Sea life made of scrap metal
(Have lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern, if you dare! And definitely tour the museum next door!)