Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mudding The Church

Just south of the town of Taos, New Mexico is Ranchos de Taos, and that is the location of a very special church, the San Francisco de Asis Church.

It may even look familiar to you, as it became a famous image after it was painted by the artist Georgia O'Keeffe. And since then, many artists and photographers have been drawn to the potent beauty of this massive adobe structure.

Around this time of year, the adobe walls of the church are given a fresh coat of mud and straw. This is smoothed on by a crew of volunteers, and then baked hard in the New Mexico sun. It is an act of love that takes a couple of weeks to complete.

This past weekend I stopped by and took some photos of the annual mudding. In the first photo below, you can see the erosion of the previous mud coat that has occurred during the past year:

And here you see the moist new mud, below the older dry and cracked mud:

Volunteers at work, applying the new mud:

Hands lovingly apply the mud, as it has been done now for almost two hundred years.