A HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS
By Myrtle Stedman
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He couldn’t say “I love you” until the end. And now he was gone. Before, there was the intense love affair mixed with deep disappointments and hurts that started in the 1920s and developed over the years when the two were artists and architects in Santa Fe and Taos. Afterwards, she went on—on to reach new heights as she became a famous builder of adobe houses and a painter of all that surrounded her. But his influence remained and it permeates her writing as firmly as the mind that dominated her before his death. Yet this seems to stimulate her probing deeper into her own self and she transports the reader to the art colonies, the blue skies and clean, cool air of northern New Mexico over several decades. Is this a love story? Perhaps not. More likely this is a study in the transforming of attitudes, shaping the reader’s thought to appreciate everything about everyday life, encouraging joy in every emotion, searching for one’s own consciousness.
Myrtle Stedman was known as an “Artist in Adobe,” designing, building, and remodeling adobe homes under a contractor’s license. She was also a well-known artist whose academic training started in 1927 when she was a student in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts school. Her English born husband, Wilfred Stedman, whose background was in architecture as well as in painting and illustrating was recognized as one of the most outstanding artists of the American Southwest. Adobe architecture in New Mexico was one of Wilfred’s favorite topics of conversation and Myrtle was instilled with the love of adobes from the moment they were married. After his death in 1950, Myrtle went on to become one of the foremost authorities on adobe construction. Myrtle Stedman was a member of PEN New Mexico, a branch of PEN Center USA West of International PEN and believed that there is no end to what the mind can do with the eye and hand, in time and in spirit. She is also the author of Artists in Adobe, Adobe Architecture, Adobe Remodeling and Fireplaces, Of One Mind, Of Things to Come, Ongoing Life, Rural Architecture, The Ups and Downs of Living Alone in Later Life, and The Way Things Are or Could Be, all from Sunstone Press.
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