Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
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Rarely does a shopping center become an attraction in its own right, but the charming Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village (336 Hwy. 179, 928/282-4838, www.tlaq.com, shops open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) is considered a Sedona landmark. Tlaquepaque (pronounced tuh-LAH-kuh-PAH-kee) was the mission of Abe Miller, who bought the 4.5-acre homestead on the banks of Oak Creek in the early 1970s, promising its original owners that he would do his best to preserve the property’s mature sycamore grove.
Miller envisioned an artists’ enclave where visitors could see craftspeople at work. He traveled around Mexico with an architect and designer, visiting towns and villages to observe how shoppers and artisans interacted in the small plazas and markets. He replicated the colonial-style buildings and courtyards, decorating them with colorful tiles and flowers, and incorporating truckloads of iron work, carved doors, and clay pots and lanterns that he had shipped north from Mexico. He was particularly proud of the chapel, a romanticized confection of stained-glass windows, hand-carved leather pews, and adobe walls, which now hosts weddings year-round.
True to his word, Miller built the complex around the property’s old sycamore and cypress trees, giving the shopping village a timeless feel. And though Miller’s vision of a live-work artists’ village didn’t come to full fruition, Tlaquepaque—which means “best of everything”—now houses many of Sedona’s finest boutiques, galleries, cafés, and restaurants.
Tlaquepaque’s Andrea Smith Gallery (928/203-9002, www.andreasmithgallery.com) features “uplifting” pieces from cultures around the world, including colorful Native American–inspired canvases, imported religious sculpture from Asia and India, and jewelry made with turquoise, topaz, and crystals.
Eclectic Image Gallery (928/203-4333, www.eclecticimage.com) specializes in framed travel photography. The black-and-white landscapes and brilliantly colored images of Arizona’s canyons, rivers, and forests make terrific souvenirs.
You’ll find South American folk art at El Picaflor (928/282-1173, www.elpicaflor.com), a quirky gallery that stocks handcrafted ceramics, intricate patchwork tapestries, and beautifully woven garments made from Peruvian alpaca wool.
The indoor-outdoor El Prado by the Creek (928/282-7309, www.elpradogalleries.com) overlooks Sedona’s peaceful Oak Creek, though it’s hard to be distracted from El Prado’s large metal sculptures that twist and revolve in the wind. The elegant gallery also showcases contemporary and Western paintings, pottery, and mixed-media pieces.
For a colorful collection of hand-blown glass art, visit Kuivato Glass Gallery (928/282-1212, www.kuivato.com). The delicate glass sculptures, fountains, and chandeliers sparkle in light, tempting many buyers to ship one of the fragile pieces home.
Renee Taylor Gallery (928/282-7130, www.reneetaylorgallery.com) regularly draws celebrities and serious art collectors with an eclectic mix of contemporary paintings, jewelry, and sculpture. The abstract works and modern interpretations of Western landscapes are particularly strong.
Boutiques and Specialty Shops
There are a few clothing boutiques at Tlaquepaque. Isadora (928/282-6232) stocks woven coats with bold prints in copper, silver, and black, as well as Native American–inspired shawls and scarves. Biada’s Fine Clothing (928/282-5665) is a bit hipper, with a modern interior space that could best be described as “Sedona loft.”
One of Abe Miller’s original tenants, Cocopah (928/282-4928) bills itself the “oldest bead store in Arizona,” though the store also carries an impressive array of Art Nouveau and Art Deco estate jewelry, antique Tibetan beads, and Native American jewelry and accessories. Hyde Out Fine Leathers (928/282-1292) sells handbags, jackets, luggage, and belts in buttery tans and browns, deep reds, and rich blacks.
For housewares and furnishings with a “south of the border” look, stop into Cosas Bonitas de Mexico (928/204-9599). Shoppers can order rustic-looking furniture or browse the extensive collection of Talavera pottery—richly painted in deep blues, golds and reds, similar to the tiles that decorate Tlaquepaque.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition