Felting the Southwestern Landscape


The magical light of the southwest

Authentic Travel and Tours presents:

“Felting the Southwestern Landscape”

A  workshop and tour in Santa Fe, New Mexico

April 17-26, 2016  Last chance to sign up for the tour is February 15th!

Click here to download the full brochure

The landscape of southwestern New Mexico is rich in color,

Santa fe 2013 172form and ever changing light, and beautifully lends itself to interpretation is art. In this workshop we will explore ancient petroglyphs and pueblos where the past and present merge, learn about the history and culture of Santa Fe and surrounding areas, and experience the rich and vibrant art scene with visits to artists and museums. All of this experience will be brought back to our hands-on felt-making workshop focused on “Felting the Southwestern Landscape”.


“Night Sky” by J.M. Slack


“Watching the Storm” by J.M. Slack

Felt-making is an ancient art, used for thousands of years to create clothing, shelter and tapestries. In this workshop we will use needle felting to create art by painting with the fiber. Your instructor, Joan Molloy Slack, learned to felt in Ireland, where she has led art and cultural tours for 15 years. After exploring the variety of ways of working with fleece, from Turkish rug making to creating hats and mittens, she became fascinated with the possibilities of using the fiber “pictorially”. She has taught workshops using this technique for over 14 years, and enjoys using symbols, mythology and personal imagery in her landscapes. In the workshop we will bring our experiences in the landscape into our felt-work, and Joan will discuss and demonstrate how to bring a personal, unique and exciting dimension to the landscape format.

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“Spring Melt” by J.M. Slack


The work shop will be held at the Inn of the Governors, which is our accommodation as well. Amenities include a lavish breakfast buffet, complimentary afternoon tea or sherry, computer use and free wi-fi in lobby, heated outdoor pool, and lovely rooms decorated with a southwestern flair. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar.

Located just 3 blocks from the Plaza, it provides easy access to the vibrant city center, with shops, galleries, museums and restaurants to explore. (www.innofthegovernors.com)


Local guides will enhance learning the history through a walking tour, and several day trips to surrounding areas will be included. We will make frequent stops for photography and sketching the desert, mountains, gorges and architecture that will be used from inspiration for the workshop projects. Visits to ancient petroglyph sites and pueblos, Georgia O’Keefe country, weavers and fiber artist galleries, and the entrancing Chimayo church and village will be sure to inspire. There will also be time to visit the excellent museums of the area, such as the Georgia O’Keefe museum, Contemporary American Indian Art Museum, and the Museum of Folk Art. A typical day outing will begin IMG_0163-001with a visit to artist Roxanne Swentzell’s gallery (http://www.roxanneswentzell.net/) followed by the Poeh Center, which provides a visual description of pueblo life as well as an outstanding gallery of native art. We’ll travel the Rio Grande route, stopping in view of the mesa and Rio Grande gorge bridge to photograph and/or sketch. In Taos, we’ll visit the Millicent Rogers Museum and have some time to walk in the plaza and have lunch. Next, we will visit the Taos Pueblo and have a guided tour. We return on the High Road through the mountains (more photo opps!) and will spend time in the Spanish village of Chimayo, a sacred pilgrimage site. Robert at Ortega’s Weavers will demonstrate his art as we wind our way back to Santa Fe. A stop at a local winery for a wine tasting will complete the day.

One of our day trip guides will be Tom Gallegos, who also leads tours for the Story of New Mexico program at the University of New Mexico. He is awaiting publication of his first novel, Secrets to Tell about the early years of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Tom is a native of Taos and currently lives in Santa Fe.

In the workshop, we’ll use the inspiration of our outings to begin the fiber “paintings” that we will develop throughout the week. All levels of experience are welcome. Needle felting is not difficult to learn, and one can expect successful results with no experience. However, those with felting experience will find the opportunity to delve deeper into new techniques, exploring composition, light, dimension and symbolism. We will begin with smaller pieces, experimenting with using specific themes, dimension and texture, and will develop these ideas into a large 18 x 24 landscape. All materials and equipment will be included.  If you have questions about the content of the class please preparatory materials will be sent upon registration. If you enjoy learning and creating while traveling, this is the trip for you!

 Your Instructor and Guide: Your instructor and tour leader is Joan Molloy Slack. She has over 14 years of experience creating and teaching felt-making, and offers workshops year-round. She will bring her love of fiber and experimentation to the workshop, sharing her knowledge while encouraging personal expression. She will also serve as your guide (along with local experts) as we visit museums and cultural sites, and will interpret the range of fascinating things we will learn about, from rock art to pottery and contemporary art. She is an artist, gallery owner, teacher and college instructor, and has been organizing and leading tours for 15 years to Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, France and within the United States. She holds a Master’s Degree Visual Art, and will bring her knowledge of art history, experience as a museum curator, and passion for art past and present to our workshop activities and excursions. As a firm believer in sustainable tourism, she also seeks out the best local guides, from historians to artists, so that we may hear and see through their eyes as well.  She has researched and curated exhibitions on Pueblo pottery and culture, and worked with Native American artists and scholars in the Santa Fe region on art and contemporary cultural issues.

 Joan says, “I began tour guiding 15 years ago after traveling extensively and leading college classes/ study tours in art history to Mexico and Ireland, both of which focused upon my interest in fiber and folk art.. I then began to lead independent travel experiences that included Ireland as well as Scotland and France, after researching prehistoric art and ceramics and attaining my Master’s Degree. My fascination with the people who are the first recorded artists, as seen in the cave paintings in France, or on ancient pottery designs and rock art carvings, continues to drive my desire to learn, explore and share my passion for what I have learned with fellow travelers.

As I worked toward my Master’s degree in Visual Arts and Art History, I learned that the best way to research was to seek out local guides, artists and historians who helped bring the stories of places and past alive. This never fails to create a rich, meaningful and life changing experience, which is why I enjoy incorporating this into art workshops. Layers of history, place names, deeper meanings and human connection create a rich, multi-layered tour with memories that remain long after the travel is over and inspire the creativity of participants. Cliff dwellings and petroglyphs in the landscape will be explored and we will discuss the possible meanings and intent, tracing back to the earliest inhabitants of this magical place. There are over 200 galleries in Santa Fe, and we will sample the diversity of art there, giving us a taste of the contemporary scene in sculpture, painting, and ceramics. My background and research in prehistoric ceramics will provide a foundation for discussion about the exquisite varieties of pottery from the pueblos, as well as the masterful work being created by contemporary pueblo potters. The design motifs are universal and will inspire our fiber art creations. Santa Fe and the surrounding areas host a wealth of fiber artists and we will seek them out as we explore the landscape. I am so looking forward to sharing my love of fiber art, culture, archaeology, and this beautiful region with you.”

We recommend registering for this workshop and tour as soon as possible, as space is limited. As this is a workshop that includes local culture, history and exploration of the region, the days are scheduled to incorporate hands-on art making, day trips, walking tours, free time and guided activities. Below is a tentative itinerary: a more detailed itinerary will be sent prior to the workshop.

Day 1- arrive in Santa Fe by 4:00 for orientation to workshop and Santa Fe. Walk to Plaza for dinner.

Day 2- introduction to feltmaking and workshop overview, creation of several pieces incorporating techniques.  Afternoon walking tour of Santa Fe, Indian market and Plaza: free time to explore and take photos

Day 3- Day trip to Rio Grande, Taos, and Chimayo (as described above)

Day 4- Hands-on feltmaking. Late afternoon visit to Andrea Fisher Gallery to learn about Pueblo Pottery and design motifs

Day 5- Feltmaking: experiment and design with light, color, dimension, composition. Visit to Gerorgia O’Keefe Museum.

Day 6- Day trip to Swentzell Galley, Poeh Center, Bandelier Monument, Espanola Valley Fiber Art Center

O’Keefe country, White Rock overlook

Day 7-  Feltmaking large landscape until 3:00. Free time to explore museums, galleries, historical sites

Day 8-  Feltmaking: transforming images into art. Free time later in afternoon for exploration, walking tours, museums, galleries.

Day 9- Completion of projects, discussions and critiques. Group farewell dinner.

Day 10- depart

COST: The cost of the tour is $1,895 per person

What is included in the price:


-Lodging for tour dates.  Price is based upon 2 people sharing a room with 2 queen sized beds

-All ground transportation after arrival at hotel and customized bus trips to outlying sites

-Full breakfast every day, water and snacks on day trips, tea and sherry at hotel in late afternoon

-All tour guides and admission fees, walking tours, and special events listed in itinerary

-guided presentations at site visits, and gratuities

-customized special events and presentations and/or performances

-all workshop instruction, materials and supplies. Supplies will also be available for purchase after the workshop.


Price does not include:

-lunches and evening meals

-travel to and from Santa Fe and any travel outside of tour dates. The tour begins and ends at the Santa Fe hotel: transportation by bus or taxi to/from airport is not included.

-insurance for health, luggage, transportation, cancellation/interruption

-any extra or “optional” sightseeing, tours, taxis, or tickets

(Additional charge of $650 for a single room- please speak to the leader about availability)


Please contact us at 715-277-4224 or 715-550-0858 with any questions or e-mail joanslack@wildblue.net. If you are interested in joining us on the tour, fill out the attached forms and mail with your deposit of $500 to Joan Slack, P.O. Box 95, McNaughton, WI  54543 as soon as possible. Your deposit is fully refundable should the workshop be cancelled. Space is limited and registrations are on a first come-first served basis.  Balance of $1,295 will be due in late February.

Refund Policy

All cancellations must be in writing, and received before the deadlines listed below.  The following penalties may apply: Up to $100 charge plus any unrecoverable deposits, any unrecoverable payments to hotels, tour operators or transportation providers, up to February 1, 2015.  After February 25, 2015 – no refund will be allowed. We will do everything possible to maintain costs and itinerary, but they are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. The itinerary may be adjusted due to weather or provider conditions. Single rooms may have limited availability and are on a first-come, first served basis.



A taste of the sights and region. Bring your camera!IMG_0178














To register please fill out the following information:




Address:____________________________          E-mail address:_____________________



Home Telephone #:_____________________Cell phone#:__________________________

Room preference:  Single Double Triple   Roommate(s) preference:____________________

Emergency contact: Name, relationship, phone, e-mail address:



Please list any food allergies or other health concerns.  Also, please list prescription medications you are using in case of an emergency. (You may use a separate sheet of paper)






The Instructor/ Tour Leader (hereafter referred to as “TL”), Joan Slack, gives notice that all

arrangements made by her as agent upon the express conditions that she shall not be responsible for any damage, injury, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of any defect of vehicle, or through the acts of default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger, or in carrying out the arrangements of the tour, or otherwise in connection therewith, nor does she accept responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delays or other changes in means of transportation or other services, due to sickness, weather, strikes, or other causes. The right is reserved to make such alterations, deletions, additions, or modifications in the itinerary, program, or accommodations as may be found necessary by the TL. While every effort is made to assure safety, the TL, and agents of the TL will not be acting in a supervisory capacity during the tour and accordingly do not accept responsibility for the activities or safety of participants.  In addition, TL shall bear no responsibility for medical or other expenses resulting from illness, injury, or accident which occurs on the tour. Participants are encouraged to be adequately insured, both for health and travel. No illegal drugs or firearms are permitted. Participants are expected not to deviate from the established itinerary without prior approval from TL. If for any reason a participant must leave the tour before completion, no refunds will be allowed. TL reserves the right to ask a participant to leave the tour due to behavior that may endanger the safety of the group.

My signature certifies that I have read the “Waiver of Responsibility” and that I agree to the

conditions thereof.


______________________________                     ___________________

Signature of participant                                             Date


Additional information and to learn more sites on the tour:



















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