Co-owner of Durango’s dynamic artist-owned Studio & gallery, our latest guest for the Southwest Discovered Q&A has recently opened her Home & Range gallery and retail shop in Cortez, Colorado and has designed a new line of home linens and paper products. This self-taught multimedia artist (writing, design, printmaking, visual arts) is not one to dawdle. Born into a family of artists and entrepreneurs and inspired by the landscape and cultures of the Southwest, we are pleased to introduce Rosie Carter …
SWD: Are you originally from the Southwest? If not what brought you here?
Rosie: I’m not originally from here but have lived in New Mexico and Southwest Colorado most of my life. My great-great-aunt, Dorothy Kent, moved all on her own from New York to Alcalde, NM (just north of Española) in the 1930’s. She bought several acres and an old hacienda by the Rio Grande River. There were a few adobe homes on the place and she planted big gardens and orchards, flowers, grapes and berries. Beautiful cottonwood trees shaded green lawns and everything was irrigated by a series of little ditches that flowed through the place. My family moved there when I was four so I spent my childhood in a really lovely, traditional New Mexico setting. The Southwest definitely settled into my bones there and I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else.
SWD: Soft tacos or crunchy?
Rosie: Soft corn tacos please! I have an easier time getting all the ingredients into my mouth intact… still messy but somehow easier to hold together!
SWD: What are your favorite adventures or getaways in the Southwest?
Rosie: I grew up going to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs as a kid. It was our local swimming pool back when the facilities were quite rustic. The pool was tucked in against the red rock cliffs with lizards running around and my mom sunbathing on the concrete. With all those sunny summer memories it’s really great to go back and enjoy all the new, improved pools and the renovated hotel and restaurant.
SWD: What is your favorite margarita?
Rosie: On the rocks with salt and preferably on the patio at Rancho de Chimayo.
SWD: What is your favorite Southwestern National Park?
Rosie: I know it’s not technically a “Park” but I really love Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The drive there from my place in Cortez is stunning, remote and completely without traffic every mile of the way. Arriving in the little town of Boulder City with that incredible landscape of hoodoos and canyons spreading out in every direction is just wonderful. And I love roaming freely with my dog, hiking along the Escalante River and wandering amid the red rocks. Dinner at the fabulous farm-to-table Hell’s Backbone Grill makes the whole experience pretty much perfect.
SWD: Red or Green (or Christmas?)
Rosie: Oh man, this is so tough! I really love an earthy red sauce on enchiladas, but green chile stew is right up there in my top five favorite foods. If forced to a desert island I guess I’d have to take green. I’d just miss that smokey sweet tang of roasted green chiles too much!
SWD: What is the most satisfying aspect of what you do?
Rosie: I like that I’m challenged every day. Having to work things out really motivates me. Whether it’s putting my intention to creating a new piece of art or tackling the design for a new Home & Range product or figuring out how to move my business past the most recent hurdle, I love the process of figuring out the best way to go.
SWD: What is the most challenging aspect of what you do?
Rosie: I wouldn’t trade living in the Four Corners for anything but building a business in this Southwest outback is not the easiest way to go. I’m just counting on all those people who love out-of-the-way little gems to help me along. Come visit!
SWD: Corn or flour tortillas?
Rosie: Definitely corn. The flavor of corn just complements so many Southwestern foods… from green chile to carne adobada to cheese enchiladas.
SWD: What do you absolutely refuse to eat?
Rosie: I keep hearing insects are the protein source of the future but I hope it’s the future beyond my life span.
SWD: This may have just been answered, but … What are your thoughts on menudo (and no, we don’t mean the boy band)?
Rosie: My dad knows these little out-of-the-way spots that have “the best” menudo and I appreciate the dedication. But I just can’t seem to get there myself… I pass on menudo, thank you.
SWD: If you hypothetically moved away from the Southwest, what would you ask people to send to you in a care package? What would you miss the most about the Southwest?
Rosie: I lived in Montana for a winter and actually had three bushels of roasted green chile mailed to me! They arrived after delivery on Friday and spent the weekend at the Post Office. By Monday morning the box was leaking green ooze and I got a panicked call! So certainly chile and all sorts of other foods… posole, really good tortillas, tamales. I’d miss the high desert weather too. The cool nights and sunny days and how big the landscape is and how easy it is to get to really remote places.
SWD: Where is your favorite Green Chile Cheeseburger?
Rosie: For a big greasy, sloppy burger and an old-style drive-in experience you can’t beat the Green Chile Cheeseburger at Burger Boy Drive-In in Cortez.
SWD: Is there a place outside of the Southwest you would like to visit? Some intriguing spot around the world?
Rosie: I’m definitely drawn to arid places and the Namid Desert in southwestern Africa looks amazing. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and with some of the highest dunes in the world. And a dune sea that flows right into the Atlantic Ocean.
SWD: Is there a Southwestern destination you’ve been wanting to visit?
Rosie: I’ve always wanted to visit Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the Arizona/Mexico boarder but have yet to make it down there. I’m captivated by all the wild shapes cacti take and hiking around that Dr. Seuss-like world would be a great way to spend a few days.
SWD: Do you have a mantra?
Rosie: I can’t say I’ve managed to completely embody it but I try… embrace the journey, let things unfold as they may.
Home and Range Gallery and Retail Shop. Cortez Colorado
Studio & Gallery, Durango, Colorado