This is the back of the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, made famous by photographers and artists including Ansel Adams, Ernest Leonard Blumenschein and Georgia O’Keeffe. Made of just mud and straw, it was almost lost when misguided attepmts to modernize it by covering it in a concrete plaster resulted in water finding its way through tiny cracks and dissolving the adobe. The plaster hid the results until it was almost too late. When the damage was discovered, the plaster was removed, and the community went back to its earlier practice of mudding (re-plastering with adobe, a mix of mud and straw) the walls every one to three years. It’s fascinating to watch workers lifted high in mechanical cherry pickers applying a coating of mud and straw and polishing it with a piece of sheepskin.
I am proud and pleased to know that my grandsons, Kyle and Westley, have had an opportunity to help in applying the adobe plaster to this iconic bit of Southwestern architecture.
This is a replay from a couple of years ago on my daily photo blog, When a Painter Snaps. That blog is no longer active, but you are welcome to go there to look through some three years of archives.