The Alchemy of Space

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, October 2011

Lisa Samuel wanted to change her world. At 19, the Santa Fe native found herself divorced and a mother of two. “I knew I needed to do something to make my life work,” she says. “And I knew I couldn’t do it here.”

With dreams of designing, Samuel packed up her small children and moved to San Diego, where she lived on welfare for two years while studying architecture and construction at The American College. When she finished, she moved back to Santa Fe and tried to find a job with an architect. “But it was the late ’70s,” she says. “I was young and I was a woman. I couldn’t get an architect to hire me.”

Samuel made her living for years working for civil and mechanical engineers, but the job never satisfied her; she longed for something more creative. She found some release in raising her by then three children. When they were grown, she went back to school at Santa Fe Community College, this time studying interior design. Even then, in her 40s, her path wasn’t smooth. In order to maintain scholarship money, she had to go to school full-time, and she did that while continuing to work full-time and take care of her second husband, who had gone legally blind (they’ve since divorced). Somehow, in the same breath, she started her own business, the Samuel Design Group. 

Read More

The Empty City

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, September 22, 2011

Robert Brumley wants to build a ghost city in the middle of the desert. The CEO of Pegasus Global Holdings, a technology development company, has a surreal plan: Construct an entire city spanning 20 square miles over two years. Build enough homes to shelter 350,000 people. Erect a downtown, cobble together a warehouse district, save some green space, put in an “old town,” even run an interstate right through the middle of it. But don’t let anyone live there.

Humans are disruptive variables.

The uninhabited city will serve as a testing ground for new technologies. Brumley says the project, which is called The Center (short for The Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation) will be open to all sorts of emerging techs.

Read More

Where Babies Come From

Midwife-run nonprofit births alternative for expectant mothers

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, August 4, 2011

Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center sits on a lush plot of land in the North Valley, set back from the road and abutted by agricultural plots. The sprawling center seems about as un-hospital-like as Abigail Lanin Eaves could make it. Dotted with skylights and large windows, it looks like a place people go to stay well, not get better.

Even the front door is preceded by a bridge and pond. The theme of sanctuary is reflected throughout the center, with art by locals, a lending library, a kitchen and a classroom. There are two futon-stocked exam rooms, which Eaves likes to call “visiting rooms,” and two dedicated birthing suites that resemble rooms at a bed and breakfast.

Eaves says she knew at age 12 that she was meant to deliver babies. She assumed it would be as an OB-GYN. When her sister had a home birth years later, Eaves was introduced to the world of midwifery, and there was no turning back.

Read More

Curbside Cuisine

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, August 2011

In the middle of summer on a hot stretch of Central, the hum of generators signals a Pavlovian response. If you’ve been to the Talin Market parking lot on a Wednesday, the sound will stroke your appetite and coax your thirst. Food trucks line the lot like a toy train set, each car serving up something slightly different. Visit the open window of one and get handed a mean slathering of South Carolina barbecue. Another boasts the Texas counterpart. Find fresh veggies and hummus, drunken meatballs, carne adovada and chef salad. Sate a parched throat with homemade lime soda, topped with fresh berries. Crave a little confection? A red velvet moon pie is waiting.

The scene comes compliments of Curbside Cuisine, an assembly of food trucks joined together with a singular purpose: to make Albuquerque a little tastier.

Read More


A gallery dedicated to super-cooled molten sand in all its glory

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, March 31, 2011

Troy Lowe and Brian Burge were tired of head shops. For years, the two glassblowers made pipes because they were more marketable than pendants and marbles and the odd art piece. But the primary venues for selling their work were stores that specialized in drug paraphernalia, and it didn’t feel like a good fit. “We didn’t like being in there,” says Lowe. “It was kind of seedy.”

Read More