Before we stroll up the street to the Artisans at Mugler, an announcement and an amendment for last week’s article:
Raise the banners! Winter Winds Farm (and creamery) is the first local featured creamery of the month (July) at the Jackson Whole Grocer!! Well done, team Lacey, Mark, and Jessica! You’ll find their scrumptious cheeses there on sale all month, and you can enter a drawing for a Winter Winds hat, patch, and cheese on Instagram. Check out the Jackson Hole Whole Grocer and Winter Winds Farm social media for more details.
Like all our industrious farmers in Teton Valley, Rafe (Canewater Farm) was out in his fields and not in his office last weekend to check my draft of his article for edits — which arrived Monday evening post deadline. Here are some interesting additions to Canewater Farm:
· Rafe and his wife, Ansley left Jackson in 2008, and spent the next five years moving across the country working on farms, and going back to school — Rafe to UC Santa Cruz for Sustainable Agriculture, and Ansley to California College of the Arts for her MFA.
· Three years ago, they heard from friends about a farm for sale in Victor, Idaho. By that time, they had two children, Emmalou and Rowan, now ages five and two. Over the past five years, they’d visited Teton Valley and always knew this was the spot for them. They’ve been here full-time since August 2019, and feel so lucky every day to be on their wonderful property!
· More details on their farm’s name, “Canewater”: the tabby ruins of Georgia’s first rum distillery, The Thicket, were next door to their Georgia farm. Sugar cane was grown on the property for the distillery, and since rum is essentially sugar cane water, Rafe and Ansley came upon the name, Canewater Farm. While in Georgia, they added the tag line, “Grown in the Low Country”. Here in Victor they thought it would be nice to stick to their roots, continue their story, and keep the farm’s name but change the tag line to “Grown in the High Country”.
And now, up the street to Mugler Plaza where the Artisans were in full swing.
Even from the Plaza entrance, an extraordinary large metal flower at the back of the bustle caught my eye. I was off like a hungry bee to check out Taiga Marthens Upcycled Metal Art & Garden Design (upcycled metal artwork). Fortunately for me, she was relaxing in a lull and was happy to accommodate my request for an interview.
“What brought you to Teton Valley?” I opened.
“I moved to the Tetons in 2001 from Montana — to ski, of course! — and was only expecting to stay here one or two years while I figured out what I was doing with my life. Well, almost twenty years later, I’m still here — and still figuring out what I want to do with my life!
“I’ve been dabbling in various art forms for a long time, from garden design to natural plasters and finishes. I became intrigued with metal during the building of my house. During trips to our local Transfer Station for salvaged materials, I was amazed by all the discarded metals I found there, so I began collecting them and teaching myself how to weld. I discovered I loved the process of cleaning up old rusty metal and giving it a new life. I also became captivated with making sculptures for my gardens, realizing by integrating them into the landscape I could contribute to creating inspiring and sacred spaces.”
“Please tell me more about what drew you to working with metal.” I was “in”!
“Well, for starters, it’s fun to find old, dirty, and twisted pieces of discarded metal and turn them into art. I love the textures metal offers. It’s an ever-changing organic process — nothing is pre-planned. As I work, I feel connected with the forms, textures, and possibilities in nature and the spiritual world.
“What I love about my art is that it creates a year-round presence in the landscapes. In winter, for example, when everything else is buried under snow, I can connect with my gardens through my snow-dusted sculptures. The big flower that caught your eye creates its own space and offers something in bloom even in the middle of winter. My desire to create gives me a higher purpose, and feeds my soul.”
Bravo, and welcome, Taiga!