If you love to read and like the feel of an actual book in your hand, you'll love Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Santa Fe's largest independent bookseller. Browsers will find a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction titles for adults, young adults and children. They also have a good selection of books on New Mexico, the Southwest and Native American topics, area guidebooks and maps. In addition, they hold over 300 events a year including author readings and signings featuring both nationally-known and local writers. Their monthly open mic event allows unpublished folks to read their work. There are also opening receptions for artists whose work is displayed in the shop and the occasional acoustic music performance. The coffeehouse, introduced in 2009 when they moved from their original digs on San Francisco Street ,is a great place to rest while enjoying a drink of snack.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Every traveling reader who still loves the feel of a book in their hand needs to know where to buy the next one while here.
Billie's expert tip: On a cold winter day, grab a book, order hot drink and snack and curl up by the wood-burning fireplace and read. The welcoming ambiance is a far cry from the wintry weather outside the door.
Than Povi Fine Art is the only large pueblo-owned Native American Gallery in the area. Owners Elmer and Deborah Torres, members of the San Ildefonso Pueblo, a group known for their pottery, first opened a small gallery the on the Pueblo. In 2013, they opened the current location off US 285/84, 15 minutes north of Santa Fe. The importance of authenticity in native art was important to them and inspired them to open the bright, contemporary space. It's filled with the work of over 200 artists; about half are from New Mexico. All the state's pueblos are represented here. Elmer's bow guards and rattles are among the items offered.. Collectors go for the pottery and sculptures, tourists prefer jewelry. On summer weekends, there are Indian dancers and other special activities scheduled. Check with the shop. They also make bread in their outdoor orno (wood fired beehive-shaped oven) three days a week.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: This beautiful gallery is the only Native American-owned gallery of its size here. It's important to be able to shop where everything sold is authentic.
Billie's expert tip: In fall 2014, Than Povi Fine Art will open an in-town gallery at the soon-to-open Drury Plaza Hotel. The 2,800 square foot space will also offer the same authentic Native American as the original in a more convenient downtown location.
Travelers Market may be one of the best-kept secrets in town. Hidden away at the back the DeVargas Center, it offers over 10,000 square feet of unique finds from forty-three ethnographic and antiques dealers. These intrepid traders comb markets, souks and bazaars around the world for their merchandise. Discover rugs and textiles, tribal and Native American jewelry, masks, pottery and vessels, ethnic clothing, books and thousands of other beautiful and unusual treasures to adorn your body and your home. Ever heard of Nagaland? Harry and Tiala Newfeld (her father was a tribal king of this small Northern India state sitting between Burma and Assam) offer items from their vintage collection of Naga items in their space. Other places dealers tribal source their stock from include Australia, Afghanistan, southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americans and Pacific islands. And the best news yet: you don't need a passport.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Travelers Market offers an amazing array of tribal and ethnographic art from around the globe. It's well-worth discovering if you crave the unusual.
Billie's expert tip: Shop slowly and carefully. Each of the forty-three dealers has their own booth and some of them are crammed pack with unusual, often one-of-a-kind items. If you fall in love with something, keep shopping, you may change your mind. There are so many wonderful things here. Prepare to be amazed.
Keshi, subtitled "The Zuni Connection," specializes in art from the Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico. It began as a co-op founded by Zuni school teachers and artists in 1981. Robin Dunlap was a teacher there and her daughter Bronwyn was in elementary school. Many of the artists they work with today were students and classmates from those days, giving them strong personal relationships with many of the artists they represent. Originally a co-op, the inventory was consigned, today it's privately owned and the shop purchases the art at fair-market prices set by the artists. Over 500 Pueblo artists are represented at Keshi. The Zuni are known for fetish carvings of animas, primarily made from stone. They are often carried on the person as it's believed that the animal's qualities are summoned by these small treasures. They also carry the fetish necklaces and unique silver and turquoise jewelry the group is known for as well as contemporary pottery, paintings and Katsina dolls.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Keshi is the only shop in Santa Fe that focuses exclusively on Zuni Pueblo art and you can be sure everything here is authentic.
Billie's expert tip: Don't know about Zuni art and handcrafts? Ask a lot of questions. They love to educate customers, even young children. about Zuni art. They can tell you about fetishes; what they mean, how they are made and the materials that they are carved from.
Santa Fe meets France at Nathalie/Nathalie at Home. Owner Nathalie Kent, a former French Vogue fashion editor, brings her French flair to her Canyon Road shop. Clothing here is a timeless mix of high-end western wear (much of it custom designed by Nathalie herself), and Gaelic fashion. The overall is effect: tres chic! Discover fabulous cowboy boots, Native American silver and Turquoise jewelry, Navajo rugs, textiles, antiques and furniture. Customers from around the world discover a selection of French home furnishings including tables and chairs, lighting; table and dinner ware and even home fragrances. When not out looking for her next unique find, Nathalie is on hand to help you find the right items for the body and the home that you will treasure forever. This consummate fashionista wants her customers to leave with something that will last forever.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Many shoppers want to sport that "Santa Fe look." It's waiting for you here from cowboy hat to fabulous hand-tooled boots.
Billie's expert tip: Don't see what you want? Ask Nathalie. She can source just about anything. If she can't find it, she can have it custom-made for you. Whether it the perfect cowboy boots, belt, buckle, hat or piece for your home, she loves the challenge and the chance to make yet another customer happy.
Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery has been selling beautiful handmade Native American pottery since 1993. This gallery, with its extensive collection dating to 1850, is THE place for American Indian pottery. They represent artists from all of New Mexico's pueblos as well as the Hopi in Arizona. Also on view are wares from the Navajo Nation, the Eastern Cherokee and the Wyndot people. Shoppers will also find the prized Mata Ortiz pottery from Mexico. Andrea Fisher represents over 500 artists. Discover work from iconic San Ildefonso potter Maria Martinez, her son Popovi Da (pronounced "Day") and his son Tony Da. Pots from Santa Clara legend, Margaret Tafoya are also on view. There are many traditional and contemporary styles to choose from. Don't be afraid to buy. If you change your mind (and you won't) your pot comes with a full, money-back guarantee.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Outside of museum collections, Andre Fisher Fine Pottery has the best collection of American Indian pottery in Santa Fe.
Billie's expert tip: Don't know anything about Native American pottery? Just ask. The knowledgeable sales people are always ready the share what they know with customers. They can tell you where the pottery is from and how it's made from clay gathering to to the firing process.
Walk in the door at Origins and you'll feel as if you've entered an exotic foreign marketplace. You'll be greeted by lush fabrics, unusual prints and vibrant colors combining to create an ambiance with a distinctly international flavor. But, look closely at the racks. They're packed with wearable art (the store's main focus) from over 50 American designers, alongside clothing from14 cooperatives from around the world. Many of these ethnic groups draw on ancient techniques and natural dyes that are part of their heritage. Of course you have to accessorize those fabulous finds. Adorn yourself with tribal amber, silver and Turkmen and Tibetan antique jewels or something unique from a local designer. The shop also offers "museum caliber" gold and diamond jewelry. Origins will bring out the gypsy in you.ue jewels or something unique from a local designer. The shop also offers "museum caliber" gold and diamond jewelry. Origins will bring out the gypsy in you.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: People come to Santa Fe, nicknamed The City Different, partly for its mystique. Origins' uniqueness speaks to that mystery
Billie's expert tip: The artisan and designer clothing here doesn't come cheap. If you're on a budget, check out their sale racks for good deals. Also comb the full-priced items as sometime there are great affordable pieces hiding out there.
You'll find more than classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. This Santa Fe institution has been teaching locals and visitors how to cook New Mexican cuisine and more for over 25 years. Their chic airy shop is packed full of carefully selected items for cooks. Treat yourself to a culinary souvenir of your visit to The City Different or buy a special gift for the cook in your life. If you want to recreate the local norteño food back home, you can get the ingredients here or even buy prepared salsas and other traditional foods as well as herbs, spices and vinegars (just a few of the things on the packed shelves). Discover La Chamba ceramic cookware from Colombia, it goes from oven to table; Nambe Cookware; stovetop smokers; alligator juniper cutting boards from southern New Mexico; table linens and cookbooks, especially those from local authors
Recommended for Best Shopping because: Visitors (and local folks) want a resource for local ingredients. The Santa Fe School of Cooking offers them along with knowledgable and gracious customer service.
Billie's expert tip: Almost everything at this shop has an interesting story behind it and the knowledgable staff loves sharing what they know. They'll tell you where the colorful placements were made or what the difference is between New Mexico chiles or about the Official State Cookie. Just ask!
East meets southwest at Seret & Sons. Walk in the door and you're transported to a foreign bazaar. The Serets spent 15 years in Afghanistan first sourcing lambskin coats for Anne Klein and later working with artisans crafting Seret's original designs for carpet, fabric, and furniture bought by clients like Oscar de la Renta, Angelo Donghia and Bloomingdale's. When the Russians took over in Afghanistan, the Serets moved to Santa Fe and set up shop sourcing riches from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, India and Tibet. Discover Seret-designed, one-of-a-kind and mostly locally-made furniture, plush textiles, pottery and other unique treasures. Need an architectural element for your home or yard? The huge backyard is chock-full of both new and antique ones, imported from the Swat Valley on the Afghan-Pakistan border as well as from India. This extraordinary collection was amassed over decades. Come browse, buy or dream on Santa Fe's Silk Road.
Recommended for Best Shopping because: The lush, one-of-a-kind finds offered by Seret & Sons represent The City Different at its best.
Billie's expert tip: This upscale shop has something for everyone, from affordable pottery from Istalif, Afghanistan to home décor that sits in the palatial abodes of A-list Hollywood folks. It's worth a visit to see the amazing array of unique items filling the shop.