Archive for the ‘Family Adventures’ Category


New Website!

January 23, 2012

I am in the process of rebuilding my blog in a new format that will give me more flexibility.  You can get to it with my main URL,  But, I thought I should put a note here in case people stumble across the old site here.  THanks for visiting!  Lots of great info on the Spanish Colonial Arts here in Albuquerque.


Jason’s Tin Public Art Box!

August 26, 2011

Congratulations to Jason who had his design for a rehabilitated newspaper box selected!  The newspaper, “The Alibi” is our popular free hip circular sprinkled  about town.  Excitingly, this box will be placed in the same block as Tintero Gallery so Jason can visit often.  Too cute.

Jason took the old metal box and covered it in tin.  He accented it with classic scallop rosettes.  But, the best part is the hand-stamped “alibi” lettering true to the original location and font.  Nicely done!

Click here to read the article where you can see his and other finished boxes.


New Tinwork & Retablo Classes Now!

August 17, 2011

Jason is finally ready to start teaching classes at Tintero Workshop & Gallery.  We have started adding classes and free lectures to the calendar.  We’re creating several avenues to allow you to register and to help us get the word out.  We’re going to try to offer one free lecture each weekend and at least two classes!  We also have Laguna Pueblo potter in the queue for classes and lectures!


  1. Aug 20 9AM-12PM TINWORK Workshop  by Jason $75/$55 Seniors.
  2. Aug 20 1:30PM-2PM LECTURE Our Lady of Guadalupe Free to public.
  3. Aug 20 2PM-4PM RETABLO Painting Introduction by Sean $55/$45 Seniors
  4. Aug 24 6PM-9PM  TINWORK Workshop  by Jason $75/$55 Seniors.


  • TBD Making Traditional Gesso
  • Oct 29 Doña Sebastiana vs Dia De Los Muertos
  • TBD Holiday Ornaments
Jason working with Sandias

Reflecting on Spanish Market 2011

August 11, 2011

Jason & Sean at Spanish Market 2011

Well, Jason and I just experienced our first Spanish Market as a collaborative team and it was a ride!  I actually got to speak on the Spanish Colonial Arts Society promotional video and one of the questions was “what makes this year’s Market special to you?”  I said that although it was my first Market, I was most excited to be publicly showing the works that my brother and I have created together.  On Friday night, each artist has the opportunity to show three favorite items for award consideration.   For our collaborative piece, we showed our Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe piece.  At first, it was a bit of an empty feeling to not receive any recognition for our work.  It’s not like we were expecting to win an award, but it was strange to put your best work out there and not get any commentary back.  But, the magic of Preview night is that you get to display your best work, stand with it, answer questions  and hear from the public.  We had the opportunity to hear directly from patrons, fellow artists and admirers.  They loved hearing our stories on the collaborative process and artistic vision.  They were genuinely impressed by our first major work together and encouraged us to continue on.  It was a perfect culmination to a year of hard work.  Of course, being able to peruse the amazing works of the other Market artists was very exciting as well.

Me & Alcario OteroBut, my favorite Preview moment had to be when senior retablo artist Alcario Otero recognized me from my show, New Mexican Santera!  He shook my hand and complimented me on the show.  I was just so flattered that he watched and really excited that he was supportive of the message of the show.  He commended me on creating the show.  We talked about show ideas.  And, he even asked me tips to minimize bubbles in the gesso.

Byron Martinez with his award winning piece

I also got a chance to share some Preview night jitters with some of my other first year artists, who I now count among my friends.  I was especially proud of my freshmen classmates, Byron Martinez (bulto carver) and Gene Gurule (tinsmith) who both took awards for their work.  Byron created a beautiful unpainted bulto of La Conquistadora.  He really captured her hands.

Gene Gurule with JasonJason and I spent some time with Gene, who explained to us that the reason he was there that night was because he was inspired after having my Grandmother, Angeline Delgado Martinez demonstrate in his classroom more than 30 years ago.  He was moved by her work and recalls many details of the encounter.  He continued to practice tin after the demonstration, but it took him nearly three decades to feel his work was worthy of Spanish Market.

Me & EricI was also inspired by the strength of returning bulto artist Eric Gonzales who had just lost his mother the Monday before Market.  He dedicated this Market to her.  He was very grateful to be at Market after a long stint away and reminds us all of the deeper meaning behind all of our work.

Then, during Market, the following Saturday and Sunday, we had dozens of people who recognized the Guadalupana from preview night.  It was nice that she was memorable among so many fine works.

But, I was pleasantly surprised to get a lot of positive feedback on a piece that I had done at the 11th hour.  I decided I wanted to submit one more piece to Preview for consideration in the small retablo category.  I had a small board on hand and had been working on an image of Doña Sebastiana.

Doña Sebastiana copyright © 2011 Sean Wells

(She is a fascinating figure—I will do a separate write up on her.   You can read more about my execution of her image in that article).  It was that image that garnered the most interest in my work at our booth over market weekend.  I would never have imagined that we would have collectors lining up at 7:30AM (you cannot start officially selling at Market until 8AM).  But, we did!  We made a quick hand-scribbled sign-up sheet and soon had several names.  The first couple had admired my Doña Sebastiana and La Conquistadora (the one I use for all of my marketing) and bought both!  It was  wonderful way to start Market.  Better yet, they allowed me to display the purchased items throughout the day while they enjoyed Market.  I was able to take several custom orders off the small retablo.  That little image ended up making a good Market into a great Market!  Jason just laughed—“Didn’t you just whip that up on Tuesday?”

Jason and I were so swamped the first day just talking with people about our work that we rarely got a chance to demonstrate.  On the second day, we did get to do a bit of demonstration and we really didn’t get a chance to do any visiting with fellow artist as we normally would.  But, that was certainly a good problem.  We saw many distant relatives, old school chums , family and friends.  We made some new friends of patrons and admirers.  You can view our gallery on our Facebook page, “Dos Artisanos.”  People were very excited to see a brother-sister doing collaborative work together and many actually said it was imperative that we continue our work.  They were also verbally thankful that we made such an effort to demonstrate the techniques, share history and invite questions.

I’ve helped Jason in the demonstration booth for many years.  In doing so, I have always tried to incorporate some graphics that tell some of our family history in tin.

Jason goofing in Angelina's crown

This year, since our grandmother, Angelina wasn’t up to attending Market with us (she’s 91), I told her I would bring her in spirit and made a giant banner of a photo I found of her posing with the 1944 Fiesta Court.  She was one of the princesses that year along with Peaches (the queen, we believe) and Viola. But, the best part about the presentation was that when she found out about the banner, she allowed me to  display the original crown she wore that she had designed and constructed from tin and accented with rhinestones.  People loved the banner, but nearly applauded when I would show the crown, often donning it or allowing people I thought might truly appreciate the experience to wear it themselves.  It was funny how many times I had to remind the husband or Dad that this was a real photo op!  I think every girl wants to wear a crown, especially a real one worn by a real princess!  Some shy visitors would turn me down, but most were tickled.  Several women said they had never worn a crown before.  Most broke into an impromptu regal wave.  Anyway, I love giving people ways to connect to the history, so it was a great vehicle to bring them into the story.

Martha Varoz Ewing implored me to attend the Sunday Morning Market Mass at the Saint Francis Basilica.  I dragged my feet thinking logistically, we would not have anyone to watch the booth.  Jas and I decided to go with it and left the booth unattended and went to Mass.  I’m so glad we did–It was the highlight of Market!  The artists are invited to bring a piece in to have it blessed.  Jason insisted I bring our giant Our Lady of Guadalupe collaborative.  He said it looked like Our Lady was walking around with legs because it was so big, no one could see me!  And, there was Jason with his delicate hollow tin cross which weighed about 2 ounces.  I teared up as we entered the Church in procession with the other artists and artworks.  We placed the art at the front altar.  I managed to sneak in my Grandmother’s crown to be blessed as well.  I thought she would appreciate that (and she was).   We listened to the bilingual mass.  It was just so moving.  The priest talked about how we were using our gifts to honor the Lord. Then, after the blessings, we gathered our pieces and processed out of the church and around the plaza.  I saw Martha and thanked her for encouraging me to attend.  She confessed to tearing up every time she attends.  Our Dad was filming for the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, so we made it a point to turn our artworks and walk slowly whenever we saw his camera!

Jason and I had an excellent Market.  Although it would have been icing on the cake to have sold our two large pieces (currently available at Tintero Workshop & Gallery), we had a great showing.  We are feeding on the energy you all gave us and are fired up to get started for next year.  We will be working on ways to find other avenues and outlets for our work in the meantime.

Jason demonstrates to on-lookersThank you to all the patrons, friends and family that came to show your support!  It is somewhat a labor of love, so to get encouragement for us to continue this work  means a lot to both of us.  We will look forward to Spanish Market 2012 and may even try entering some new categories this year!


60th Annual Spanish Market July 30-31

July 27, 2011

Come join nearly 200 Spanish Colonial artisans on the historic Santa Fe Plaza July 30-31 for Spanish Market!  Jason and I will be in booth 164 near the southwest corner of the Plaza, across from the 5 & Dime.  To get the word out, we have created a somewhat elaborate mini-marketing campaign.

New Mexican Ad 2011We will have an ad in the Santa Fe New Mexican official Market newspaper insert.  I designed the ad myself.  It’s kind of wacky, but I really wanted to do something fun and festive and get away from the gallery feel.  The design is inspired by the old Sideshow posters.  The ad in the paper is black and white due to budget restrictions.

We’ve also created a video invitation that will serve as a landing page for anyone who visits our new website,  Technically, “artisanos” should read “artesanos.”  But, the ‘artesanos’ URL was not available and the misspelled ‘artisano’ is widely accepted around here and we really liked the wunderkin siblings idea–it suits our “let’s have some fun” attitude.

The promotional video was shot by our Dad and the landing page includes a link to the outtakes which is highly entertaining.

Dos Artisanos Video Landing Pageclick on image above to view our video invitation or see outtake reel.

Dos Artisanos websiteclick on image above to visit our new website.

The new website is just really a front door to our individual sites that promotes us as siblings and 5th generation artisans.  The left column is all Sean links and the right is Jason links.  You will find links to our online storefronts, a page on our videos and DVDs and links to our personal art blogs.  If you click on the stamp, you can send us an email  Or click on the Tintero images to get more information on Jason’s workshop and gallery.  I’ve also just added links to our professional Facebook pages where you can get snapshots of works in progress and event reminders.  Enjoy poking around!

click on image above to download the official Spanish Market brochure

The brochure includes artist name sand booth numbers along with some other goodies.  I hesitate to say “I designed it” since I completed it so quickly.  But, I’m proud to say I conceptualized and assembled it.

One of our family members, the talented oil painter Damian Gonzales will be showing at the Contemporary Market which happens simultaneously with Traditional Market and runs up Lincoln Street.

Click here for more logistical information on Spanish Market from the new Spanish Colonial Arts Society website (which I also designed).

Well, we hope to see you there!  And, remember to support your local artisans!


Our Lady of Guadalupe Collaboration

April 13, 2011
Jason and Sean at work

Click on image to watch this episode online!

We just completed shooting the final episode of our premiere Season of our respective shows, New Mexican Santera and New Mexican Tinsmith.  Dad had the excellent idea to do a collaborative piece for the final episode.  I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share with viewers the dynamic of two artists collaborating.  It was very spontaneous since Jason didn’t even know the size of my board before showing up to shoot the show.  He did a fantastic job quickly responding with a design concept and improvising some design ideas.

Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tin

copyright ©2011 Sean Wells y Delgado & Jason Younis y Delgado

We both have a few finishing touches to add, but you can get a sense of the direction of the finished piece.  Jason came up with a Corona gesture for the top piece that poetically reflects the crown of Mary.  He also added delicate stars around the frame and roses to recall the story of Juan Diego.  I asked him to include thorns on his vine to hint at the crown of thorns that Jesus wore.

We decided to take advantage of the project to use it as our submission for the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s annual Art Auction ABQ Nouveau Retablo 2011.  You can view and bid on this piece and many other traditional and contemporary retablo creations Friday May 6 from 6PM-8:30PM at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Pete V. Domenici Education Building.  Check out for more information and to view this piece online next week.

What a fun project!  We hope to do more on-air collaborations next season.  But, until then, the local stations will be rerunning our first season Wednesday nights at 9PM Comcast Encantada | Ch26 Albuquerque  | Ch16 Santa Fe.

Now that we have our first season complete, we plan to offer our shows to the other public access channels of the Southwest.  We will update our list when we get some confirmations!

[Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe]
1531 A.D. | Feast Day Dec 12  | Marian Image

A humble local named Juan Diego claimed to have been visited by the Virgin Mary.  The local Bishop requested a sign.  Juan Diego returned (on what is now her Feast Day) with a gift of blooming roses that had appeared in mid winter on the hill where the apparition spoke to him.  He carried the flowers in his cloak and as he spilled them out for the Bishop, the image of the Virgin appeared on his cloak just as Juan Diego had described her.  The Bishop fell to his knees and built a chapel on the hill.  The cloak still hangs today in a shrine on the original hill.  The image has come to represent the worldly love and peace that Mary has to offer, crossing ethnic boundaries.

detail of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tin

NOTE:  Videotero, LLC, Delgado Arts, New Mexican Santera and New Mexican Tinsmith have no affiliation with The National Hispanic Cultural Center or ABQ Nouveau Retablo.  We are simply using this opportunity to promote an organization that shares the similar goal of preserving the Spanish Colonial Arts.


PROFILE Albert Delgado

March 16, 2011
Albert Delgado Frame of Saint Patrick Retablo

Framed retablo of Saint Patrick for his daughter, Pat. photo courtesy Pat Delgado ©2011

PROFILE Albert Delgado | Tinsmith | October 23, 1925 – December 4, 1997

Tinsmith with a Heart of Gold

I thought I should start documenting some of the family tinsmiths in the blog.  After recently reconnecting with my second cousin, Pat Delgado, it seemed like the perfect time to profile her father, my Great Uncle Albert Delgado.  I’ve been sick all week, so I interviewed her on the phone to get some insights into Albert as a Delgado Tinsmith.  She immediately sent me some great photos of pieces she owned by her father.  One, a framed retablo of Saint Patrick, seemed perfectly timed to inspire me to report so close to his Feast Day.  I had never tied my cousin’s name to Saint Patrick, but now I see Pat, born on March 18 nearly shares a birthday with Saint Patrick.  This is just the kind of cleverness and humor you might expect from my dear Uncle Albert.

The Delgado tin history begins with my great-great grandfather, Francisco Delgado.  His work defined certain aspects of Spanish Colonial tinwork design.  He handed down his designs and techniques to his son, Ildeberto, who used the craft to claw his way out of the chasm of the Great Depression with the help of the New Deal Era WPA.  Ildeberto and Zenaida Delgado had seven children, all of which studied tinwork to varying degrees.

I Intend to profile each of the children over the next year in my blog.  I’ve already introduced you to one of them, my Grandmother, Angelina Delgado.  Writing these profiles is not only a great way to share the depth of our family history in the Spanish Colonial Arts, but for me to connect on a more intimate level with the stories of these legendary characters of our family through interview and story sharing with other family.

Albert Delgado wearing his Truchas hat

Albert wearing his hat expressing his feelings for his beloved second home in the small town of Truchas, NM

Somewhere in the middle of six other siblings, Albert Peter Delgado was born October 23, 1925.  When Pat gave me his birthday, I made a quip about Albert being a Libra (we have quite a few in the family) and she retorted that he actually liked to think of himself as being more of a Scorpio (as he falls on the cusp).  I wouldn’t have figured him for the horoscope type, but I would certainly characterize him as a Scorpio, with sharp wit and charisma galore.

Pat recently brought some pieces over to my brother’s tin shop for repair.  He worked on them while she waited and they had a chance to catch up.  It was a nice convergent moment for Pat to have Jason, the next generation of Delgado tinsmiths repairing her father’s pieces.  I think it was an honor for both of them in a sense.

I talked to Pat about what she felt Albert’s legacy to Delgado Tin might be and one of the things she had mentioned was his punch designs.  Part of the challenge of becoming a tinsmith is finding ways to make marks on the tin.  You can use a nail or an old screwdriver or blunted chisel.  But, tinsmiths learn quickly that making stamp patterns can save time and refine the finished product.  Uncle Albert had a leg up on original punch-making.

He served a full tour of  four years in the Navy during World War II where he was trained as a machinist.  This early training would influence his later career choice as a trainer at the labs in Los Alamos and developed an expertise in Tool and Die making.  Although, I believe he enjoyed the technical aspects of his 9-5 job, he loved his artistic hobbies.  He was not the most prolific tinsmith of his generation and he was not award-winning.  But, those facts do not accurately reflect his passion for tinwork or his notable talent.  Almost every person I have had contact with in Santa Fe owns at least one piece given to them by Uncle Albert.  He was so generous with his work.  Pat described how he participated in Market more for the social interaction than the income.  His work hangs at Ranchos de Taos, the Old San Isidro Church and in Rosario Chapel, among other notable places around town.  But, even when we were working with the Sacristana of Basillica Saint Francis, Terry Garcia, she pointed out several pieces given to her by Uncle Albert and thought of him with great fondness.  His generosity inspires me to be more giving with my own work.  I think he just liked to bring smiles to peoples faces.  Pat said, “He would give you the shirt off his back.”

Donated by Albert Delgado

The back of one of the Maltese Crosses of Rosario Chapel. photo courtesy Toby Younis ©2011

In addition, Albert gave Jason the fundamental knowledge he needed to learn how to create his own stamps.  I remember it was a rite of passage for my brother, after having struggled trying to make his own stamps for many years, with difficulty.  After Albert’s instruction, Jason was able to mimic some of the family punch designs as well as develop his own signature stamps patterns.  Albert could have simply handed Jason a set of stamps, but I think he knew it was more important to teach a man to fish and I know Jason is ever grateful for that knowledge.

albert delgado brass frame

Two larger pieces by Albert Delgado. photo courtesy Jason Younis ©2011

Besides his signature punches, both Pat and Jason noted Albert for his work with brass.  Although brass does appear on tinwork, it is usually in the form of bollitos, or domed accents that appear at the corner to tidy up joint locations.  But, Albert took the use of brass to a whole new level using entire sheets, as seen in the frame for the angel painting by Dean Delgado [pictured right in photo above].  If tin is Poor Man’s Silver, then maybe Albert’s way with brass gave him the Midas Touch.

“One of the things Albert brought was his very spartan (for Delgado style) aesthetic to his tinwork. He was very careful to be ornate without being overbearing. Angelina’s work always struck him as “gaudy” (his words!). In so doing, he was truer to the earliest tinwork, which tended to be very clean [minimalist] in stamping.”  ~ Jason

But, the one pattern that Pat thought Albert might want to be remembered for is his signature Maltese Cross design that appears on either side of the altar at Rosario Chapel.  I have seen the design since, but I don’t believe it appears before his earliest one.  It is an elegant, well-proportioned pattern.

Maltese crosses of Rosario Chapel

photo courtesy ©2011 Toby Younis

Tin Door by Albert Delgado for Señor Murphys Candy Maker

Tin Door by Albert Delgado for Señor Murphys Candy Maker. photo courtesy Jason Younis copyright ©2011

When I asked Pat to list her personal favorite piece, she listed several, but finally remembered one that stood above the rest–The doors at Señor Murphy Candy Maker (100 East San Francisco Street, Santa Fe).  I was so excited to find out Albert had done these doors.  I wish I had a photo of them and will be sure to take one next time I’m in town to add to this article at a later date.  I have gone through those doors and have so many great memories, much like my memories of Uncle Albert–sweet nuggets of pure joy for life.  UPDATE:  Jason found a partial picture of the door at Señor Murphy’s, so here you go!

Three things that I believe define the iconic Delgado:

  1. A love of giving and receiving knowledge.
  2. An entrepreneurial spirit.
  3. The ability to inspire.

And, it is in all three aspects that I think of my Great Uncle Albert as a classic representation of all that is good in the Delgado lineage.  It was Uncle Albert who set Jason on the correct course in making his own punches.  And, I was certainly inspired in watching him to develop my own artistic hobbies into focused directions.  Albert’s work has a distinctly independent spirit, but shows clear respect for the Delgado traditions taught to him.

As Uncle Albert got up in age, he suffered several strokes that affected the use of his right side.  Despite the handicap, he continued to work with tin, even though he often missed the punch and pounded his own fingers.  He used to ask his girls to, “hold the punch” for him in jest knowing that they would most likely be receiving a blow to their own hands if they should fulfill his request.  This was so typical of Albert’s comedic nature, laughing at those around him and at the same time admiring them.  Pat believed he saw the work as his therapy and conjectures that it helped him stay mentally and physically focused and positive until he could work no longer.

It was such a pleasure to talk with Pat and get her thoughts on the family direction.  I didn’t know that both her and our Great Grandmother Zenaida were part of the Sociedad Folklorica, an organization solely and selflessly dedicated to retaining the unique traditions of our area.  Pat also served on the Fiesta Committee for many years.  Pat was very pleased to see Jason and I continuing the family artistic story and she hopes that in general there is a return to roots.  It was also just nice to hear her manner, as Pat has so much of her father’s directness and sense of humor.

reverse glass painting tin mirror by Albert and Alma

Reverse glass painting collaborative by Albert and Alma. photo courtesy Jason Younis ©2011

Albert and his lovely wife, my wonderfully sweet Aunt Mae have two girls, Alma and Pat.  Both studied tinwork, but neither pursued it after his passing.  Pat remembers spending summers in my Grandmother’s studio, “doing all the dirty work,” as she lovingly put it.  She did all the bending, cutting and physically demanding aspects of the tin making.  But, she knew she didn’t have the passion to continue the tradition.  Although, she did note, if she were called upon to take up the torch, she would gladly do so.  I believe my Mom has a beautiful mirror that was made by Uncle Albert with reverse glass painting by Alma.  I did not have time to interview Alma and it looks like I had plenty to say for now!  But, I will add thoughts from her when I get a chance to catch up.

A note about Saint Patrick:  I may review Saint Patrick in the future, but as far as I can tell, he is not one of the common traditional New Mexican retablo Saints. Although I love this image.  Pat’s retablo was painted by Belarmino Esquibel, an award-winning Spanish Market artist.

Albert Peter Delgado |  Tinsmith
[Son of Ildeberto & Zenaida Delgado]
Brother to my Grandmother, Angelina Delgado
October 23, 1925 – December 4, 1997

Don’t forget, New Mexican Santera airs tonight at 9:00PM presenting the last half of the Santa Barbara retablo!
Comcast Encantada Channel 26 Albuquerque, Channel 16 Santa Fe.