GEORGIA O’KEEFFEE NEVER CEASES to amaze—and I’m not even talking about her artwork, but her lifestyle. She was so far ahead of 20th-century manners and mores that today’s trendies are still playing catch-up. Now we learn, as Gwyneth Doland puts it in the cover story, Real Simple O'Keeffe, that she was the prototypical “DIY Pinterest dream girl”. Organic gardening, canning and pickling, grinding wheat, and making yogurt—she did it all.” Mind you, this was in the postwar years when American cooking was more Betty Crocker and Birds Eye than homegrown eggplant—and decades before kale became queen.
Why do we care? Well, for the purposes of our annual home-and-garden issue, O’Keeffe remains a prime exemplar of an enviable and highly evolved approach to creating her own uniquely New Mexican environment. The houses, the land, the food, the furnishings—even her cookbooks, which migrated from the pantry to the studio—all created conditions conducive to creative work. Those are traits that echo throughout this state, which is home to more creatives than corporate types, and throughout this issue.
Consider Mark Medoff, the eminent playwright (Staging Area). He could live near Broadway, where his plays are staged, or Hollywood, where they get made into movies, but he hangs his hat in Las Cruces. There he enjoys a long-standing affiliation with New Mexico State University, and the company of his children and fortunate grandchildren, who apparently have the run of his rather grand home. The pursuit of that kind of rooted-in-place quality of life shines through in the home-building projects profiled in other parts of this package. Our subjects took individualistic approaches to creating environments that meet their needs and feed their souls, and I, for one, find their stories inspiring. Hope you do, too.