(Music by Adam Bork)
Marfa, Texas sits upon a vast expanse of landscape. The town’s recent incarnation was hewn from the surrounding desert by the famed American minimalist sculptor Donald Judd. Seeking a place to permanently house his art and that of his contemporaries, Judd fondly recalled the West Texas landscape from his days in the Army after World War II. With the Dia Foundation’s initial support, Judd founded the Chinati Foundation on the abandoned grounds of the former Fort D.A. Russell. Both the Chinati and Judd Foundations run tours each day, attracting crowds of visitors from around the world.
However, out-of-towners soon discover more than restrained cubes and neon installations. In fact, there are diverse clusters of artists and craftspeople at work. A Craft Night, co-founded by Katherine Shaughnessy of Wool and Hoop, is held every week, attracting a mix of young and old people alike, all interested in knitting, creweling, sewing and mending.
The best way to discover Marfa is to wander about and discover what’s there. It is a long trip to make but well worth every second.
Editor’s note: Just as we were making preparations to publish this piece for your viewing, we learned about the terrible wildfire that ignited west of Marfa on April 9 that went on to destroy vast swaths of the Chihuahuan Desert, as well as the historic town of Fort Davis 20 miles north. To learn more and find out how you can help, go to the website of KRTS, Marfa’s Public Radio Station or to Big Bend Now.
About the filmmaker: Karen Bernstein is an Emmy and Grammy award-winning documentary maker who lives in Marfa, Texas with her son, a dog and two cats. Though not a craft person by nature she is a dedicated fan of Craft Night and the artisans of the Trans-Pecos of Texas. More information about her work can be found at www.bernsteindocumentary.com
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