Once upon a time, Santa Fe was all gallery talk, all the time. Today, however, a new guard of artist, maker, vendor, tinker, tailor, soldier, spy is on the case, and art's not just about hanging impossibly expensive nonsense on the wall. Instead, we wear it, we experience it, we buy it from our friends and we implement it into our daily lives.
Dandelion Guild is one of these forward-thinking, up-and-comer outside-the-box arts businesses. Co-founder Calixte Raifsnider can't recall exactly when she kicked off the project's first pop-up markets, but she estimates it's been a little over three years. She had some vending experience as half of The Bookman and the Lady, an online book-selling business she runs with her husband Benjamin Bailey-Buhner, but something about the artistic quality of vintage clothing, handmade jewelry and practical arts spoke to her.
In the early days, Dandelion Guild stuck to pop-up events in places like the Solana Center, Strangers Collective's NO LAND gallery space off the Plaza and the Center for Contemporary Arts' Tank Garage—but the more artists and makers who got involved, the more Raifsnider longed for a physical space. She now has one.
As of this weekend, Dandelion Guild opens a new storefront in midtown Santa Fe. Raifsnider identifies the first group of makers and vendors as small, but with work from local brands like TWIG, Dryland Wilds, Clouds and Copper and Heirmana plus artists like Liz Brindley, Jenna Pichnarcik and Elise Albarazi kicking things off, it's a bit of a who's-who of local talent.
"It was starting to become this great big thing, and about a year and a half ago I realized I really love doing it—it made me happy and I wanted to do it all the time," Raifsnider says. "We worked with Ghost and we worked with NO LAND; when we did that installation it changed my perspective on things—it was this installation they set up, and rather than a pop-up, it was these artisan products being treated like art in a gallery. From there it just kind of snowballed organically."
The new space operates a bit like a co-op, with vendors and artists volunteering for a certain number of shifts per month, though Raifsnider says she'll probably be manning the shop more often than not in the beginning. She envisions a whole lot of administrative work since Dandelion Guild is always on the lookout for new artists and makers as well as consignors.
"[Raifsnider] is a magnet for soulful, talented local makers, so anything she's involved with I'm glad to be a part of," TWIG founder and jewelry designer Aviva Baumann says; she tells SFR she'll work about a shift a week. "She's been very generous as far as the percentage the store is taking—she's really supportive of all us small businesses."
"I look for the quality of the work and … a lot of other, intangible things," Raifsnider says of potential collaborators. "There's such a team element and people have to be willing to show up, literally, in every sense of the expression—it helps build that group energy and dynamic, but it's also really fun and I want people to have a good time."
And speaking of good times, the opening event on Saturday July 7 should be a rollicking one. Many of the vendors will be on hand celebrating, the collective presents an installation of artwork from participating artists, plus Taos band Trummors and Santa Fe's Tone Ranger are scheduled to perform in the beautiful outdoor garden space Dandelion Guild shares with the building's other tenants.
"It's still a little bit unreal," Raifsnider muses. "In some form or fashion I've always known I'd have a physical space that people could come into. It just made so much sense. This is what I want to do."
Dandelion Dreams: Dandelion Guild Grand Opening Party
Noon-6 pm Saturday July 7. Free.
1925 Rosina St., Ste. H,