El Nicho Folk Artist Spotlight
Click on any image to enlarge
When meeting Mary Ortega for the first time, one gets the sense of being a long-lost family member returning to the fold. The oldest daughter of legendary carver Ben Ortega, Mary's life is a treasure chest of heartwarming stories and beloved keepsakes. The original carvings of her father proudly decorate her Santa Fe home, along with one-of-a-kind pieces carved by her talented family members.
Mary's genuine warmth and contagious enthusiasm overflow into every aspect of her life, including her folk art. For Mary Ortega, art is for the birds, literally! For years Mary has been thrilling visitors to Santa Fe with her carvings of birds of a feather perched on wood gathered from the New Mexico wilderness. Creating her pieces from piñon, cedar and cottonwood, each little bird is its own unique treasure, many depicting nervous bird parents awaiting the hatching of their springtime eggs. Her flock of hens, all with their own unique names, stories and personalities, bring joy and laughter to the heart. With Mary's carvings, the details are wonders to behold.
Mary Ortega is an active participant in Santa Fe's Spanish Market and her work is proudly available at El Nicho.