Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Discovering Comfort~~Mata Ortiz Pottery and More

Discovering COMFORT~~ A Photo Essay
On the Road to Comfort


Comfort Crockery~~Fine & Useful Original Arts,
402 Seventh St., Comfort, Texas

Gallery Hours in December 2011~~Tues. -- Sat. 10 to 5, Sun.-- 1 to 5

Welcome from Owner~~Roci Brawner

Landscape Paintings by Cindy Morawski at the Crockery

Beautiful Display on Exhibit now at the Comfort Crockery
Mata Ortiz Pottery
from the collecion of Mary Frances
December 7 - 23, 2011

"Their imagery evokes Op Art, M.C. Escher and computer chips in combination with plumed serpents and macaws."
~~William Gilbert

The village of Juan Mata Ortiz is located in the northern part of Chihuahua, Mexico, less than 100 miles from the Mexico-U.S. border. In this small village of approximately 2000 people, a truly remarkable artistic tradition has developed in the last 30 years. 

The potters of Mata Ortiz combine both intellectual and aesthetic elements.  They have re-created their ancestral symbols as well as shown a refined creation of original and creative contemporary art. 

The Mata Ortiz Collection of Mary Frances presently on display at the Comfort Crockery shows an impressive number of pieces.  There are 10 in the front of the store and 67 pieces of pottery in a special exhibit in the back of the gallery.  They are not only on view for the public, but they can be purchased as well.   If you'd like more information, call 830.995.5299 or e-mail Roci at



  •      SEASONS LANDSCAPE PAINTINGS by Cindy Morawski~~New Art Work

  • THE PHOTOGRAPHY of  GHOST RANCH, NEW MEXICO by Cindy Morawski~~ October 2011

**The price of each calendar is $15.00, which includes tax.  Please email or call me if you're interested.  They make original gifts for the Holidays! 


~~ Studio Phone:  210.522.0706




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wilkome to a Glimpse into the Past~~Photos and Narrative of Castroville, Texas

Medina River from the Bridge in Castroville

Glenn Nuyttens, Landmark Inn's Tour Guide, explaining about the Founding of Castroville
Allie, the Rickshaw Man, setting a World Record and stopping for a Chat

The Steinbach House, Museum at 100 Karm Street
DayTrippers, group photo at the Landmark Inn~~Say~~Alsatian!
Feline Wilkome, along with assistant Maria, to the Albro's Garden Shop on Fiorella Street
Medina River's December Reflections along Hwy 90

Historic Moye Center and Retreat

Picket Fence Leading to an Historic Home

Facing Houston Square, a Glimpse into the Past
Cheri Hoog, Castroville Resident, embracing Alsatian History
Travels to Castroville, Past and Present
by Cindy Morawski

Where can you find Texas History, natural beauty, fine dining, and more?  Hint:  It's only a day away by horse and wagon or by car it's only about a half an hour from San Antonio.  The historic town of Castroville, founded in 1844 by Frenchman Henri Castro, is a worthwhile stop for travelers and visitors alike. 

Traveling by present-day car, I joined my BSW DayTripper friends and headed to Castroville on December 1, 2011.  Our first stop landed us at the Landmark Inn, a state Historic Site, where we learned about the commercial side of this once-bustling city from tour guide Glenn Nuyttens.  Castroville's growing influence in early Texas started with having roots in mills of various types~~a cotton gin, a lumber mill, and a grist mill, all located on the Medina River.  Attracting commerce and colonists, this made it one of the largest towns in Texas in the 1800's. 

Surprises galore!  While making discoveries about Castroville's past, we presently came upon an ex-Marine named Allie and his loyal dog Roxy.  Allie's Rickshaw Trek, starting in California, will set a new Guiness World Record.  He's bound for Miami and then onto Washington, DC, to be met by the president.  He has a dream, and he's proving that America is still a great country.  He told us that he has met gracious and generous people along the way in his travels.  We had the pleasure of hearing some of his stories along the Medina River last Thursday.  If you want to learn more about his adventures, check out his website:  Best of Luck to you, Allie and Roxy!

While continuing our walking tour with Castroville resident, Cheri Hoog, we enjoyed more colorful stops along the way.  Across the bridge from the Landmark Inn, we found the Steinbach House.  This present-day museum was originally built in Wahlbach, France, between 1618 and 1648.  It was relocated to Castroville in 1998.  Now it's open for tours Monday through Friday from 9 to 5. 

Another noteworthy stop included the St. Louis Catholic Church, at 610 Madrid Street.  Built between 1868 and 1870 under the organization of Father Peter Richard, it looks out on Houston Square.  Its chapel near the Moye Retreat Center has even an earlier building date of 1844.  If you get a chance to go inside the St. Louis Church, you won't be disappointed.  Beautiful stained glass windows and statues await you!

Moving along to some of the shops of the city, our touring group came upon Albro's House and Garden on Fiorella Street.  Owned by Ward and Tot Albro, it originally was an old saloon, relocated to its present-day site.  From 1920 until 1994, it had been a blacksmith shop.  The outhouse in the back, surrounded by lavendar, also has an historic note.  It was built by the WPA in 1930.  Look for Manchita, Spanish for Little Patches, the calico cat in the shop.  Maria and Tot will also be glad to help you find what you're looking for. 

All that walking gave us an appetite.  We were happy to dine at the Castroville Cafe at high noon.  This 1884 Victorian house is located on September Square which is the original location of the Henri Castro Homestead.  Serving delicious sandwiches, soups, salads, and more, you can enjoy your meal while surrounded by fine art in this lovely restaurant.   It's open from 11 to 2, and it's located at 309 Lafayette with both an outdoor porch and an inviting garden patio for lunch seating as well. 

All in all, a day out in Castroville, gave me a chance to connect to both past and present.  What a beautiful place to visit!  And, only a short drive from San Antonio . . . hope you'll make your own discoveries!


PS:   If you're looking for a unique gift this Christmas, consider a calendar.  I have two to choose from:  Seasons~~ 2012 Art Calendar, New Landscape Paintings, and Photography of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, another Art Calendar for 2012.  Just email or call me for more details.  I can mail it, deliver it in person, or you can come by my studio to pick it up.   or  studio:  210.522.0706.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Looking for Paradise in a Place Called Utopia

Walking through the Cool Shadows

Colors so bright I might need shades!

Bald Cypress in Silhouette

Ready for a Boat Ride

Late Afternoon along the Frio

Reflections of November

Hiking the Lost Maples Trail

Sun Going Down at the Bunkhouse

Thankful for Utopia
by Cindy Morawski

Thankful.  That's gratitude for you.  I found myself thinking about how I wanted to spend some of my free time the week of Thanksgiving, months ago.  I felt thankful that Paul and I were going to get some time off so we discussed the possibility of a little vacation that wouldn't involve airfare, rental cars, or dining out two or three times a day.  We also wanted to take the dogs with us.  We hoped that we could involve some of our friends and family too.  Hmmmmmm.  

The answer came to me as I was remembering how much fun I'd had when I went to Lost Maples for an art workshop last April.  I'd stayed at the Fox Fire Cabins and had a great time.  Paul "googled" the cabins and I talked to the office manager.  They informed us that there was a cabin called the Starry Night Bunkhouse outside Utopia, and that it would be available when we wanted to get-away.  We jumped on it because we could take the dogs.  We hoped that we could hike the trails of Lost Maples and Garner Parks because November had cooler temps.  We kept our fingers crossed that the trees would have changed and looked more like fall than summer. 

We drove through Helotes on Bandera Road and followed Hwy 16 all the way to Bandera.  From Bandera, we then traveled through Medina, the apple capitol of the Hill Country, and then on to Vanderpool and Utopia.  If the pretty drive there was any indicator of a good time, then we suspected we'd have it made.  The hilly twists and turns and subtle shades of autumn tree colors clued us in.  The Texas Hill Country is its own piece of Paradise.  

We finally ended the drive at Lost Maples.  We were going to kick off our time-off by hiking with our friends Marie and Garth.  The trees didn't disappoint us.  Brilliant hues of oranges, yellows, and reds danced in the maples and other trees along our trail.  Chatting and laughing together, we ambled on.  The possiblities seemed endless.  It was all good. 

Later we checked into our cabin in Utopia.  The hilltop view was magnificent.  Everything tasted better during our stay while we ate outdoors.  Coffee and sunrises.  Dinner and sunsets.  The air seemed lighter and healthier than our usual city atmosphere.  The burn ban had also been lifted so we had a chance to build a fire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the open flames.  It seemed like a long time since we had a camp fire.  Our extended drought had kept that from happening. 

The next day we had a chance to hike with our family; Ryan and Tonia and the grandkids met us at the park, and Phineas and Rusty, our dogs, accompanied us too.  The morning felt cool and crisp.  The air smelled of autumn leaves with a hint of smoke from campfires.  The dogs pulled at their leashes.  We headed down the Maple Trail together.  Endless.  That's the word that came to mind again as I sauntered down the path.  I wanted the day to never end.  It was that good. 

Utopia was our resting place each night.  We headed back to the cabin after our day outdoors while hiking and picnicking at Lost Maples and Garner State Parks.  We cooked and slept in the bunkhouse.  Sleep seemed better after a day of exercise and fresh air.  The stars looked brighter out there too.  No city lights to fade the night-time view. 

Paradise can mean many things to many people.  To me, I found my little piece of paradise in a place called Utopia.  I remain thankful for that.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finding COMFORT in a small town outside San Antonio

The Tinsmith's Wife
409 7th St.
Comfort, Texas
Comfort Cat ~~ Painting by Cindy Morawski
Inspired by Lily, one of the knitting shop's cats
See her photo below . . .
Better than the Wal-Mart Greeter!
Inside the front door at The Tinsmith's Wife shop
I'm thinking . . . yes, I think the red yarn is the prettiest!
Lily, one of the cute cats, at the yarn shop
Do you want two of everything?

Something Soft ~~ A Real COMFORT in Comfort, Texas

by Cindy Morawski

After visiting with the Solberg's cats at The Tinsmith's Wife, a knitting and needlepoint shop in Comfort, Texas, I felt my blood pressure descend to a normal level.  Being near all those friendly cats and those soft rainbows of colors in the yarn displays, a peaceful calmness came over me.  Feeling like I was suddenly transported into the past while enjoying a present-day visit to this Comfort shop on 7th Street, I knew I'd discovered something special.  This one- of- a- kind store will not only help you find supplies for a sewing, yarn, or needlepoint hobby, but it will also allow you a glimpse into a slower-paced era of solid service with a small, family-run business. 

Wendy Solberg and her parents, Susan and Bill, run this charming store in downtown Comfort.  Wendy bought this place three years ago, and mentioned to me while we chatted, that the shop has an interesting history.  It started out as a tinsmith shop in the 1800's; that's why it's called The Tinsmith's Wife now.  It has also been an appliance store.  The wooden floors are original as well as most of the historic structure.  The walls display needlepoint patterns and other art that relates to the items sold there.  That's why you may find a wooly sheep or two nearby.  Colorful, hand-knitted items such as sweaters, hats, and scarves show the promise of hand-crafted goods.  To me, it was eye-candy at its best!

Comfort can be found in many places.  Besides the name of the town, it can also reside in one's heart.  Compassion for felines is evident in this place.  Homeless cats have found a sanctuary here.  Kitty, Lily, Noro, Laurel, and others reside on soft rugs, rocking chairs, and in yarn bins.  What lucky cats!  And, that's no Yarn or Tall Tale!

One cat especially made my day.  Her name is Lily, and she's a black and white tuxedo cat.  Her friendly manner and curious ways helped me notice her immediately.  In fact, she inspired me to not only photograph her, but to later paint her as well. 

If you're looking for a reason to shop or simply need an outing, I have a suggestion.  Drive to Comfort, Texas, and get reacquainted with some old-fashioned goodness. Again, it's located at 409 Seventh Street.  Their phone number is 830-995-5539.  Lastly, you can also check it out on the web for more details.

Wishing You COMFORT!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Open House~~Holiday Wolfson House~~Nov. 14 - 19, 2011


Holiday Invitation

FREE Homemade Holiday Refreshments, Free Admission and Parking . . .


415 Broadway
San Antonio, TX

Tour one of San Antonio's historic homes, shop for the holidays, enjoy the holiday decorations and refreshments!

November 14 through 18, Monday - Friday, 10 to 6,
Saturday, November 19, 10 - 3

Please look for my art display by the fireplace upstairs. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Comfort Cat
~~by Cindy Morawski

If you'd like to see my Holiday Gift Line-up of Mag-Cats (Cat Magnets), paintings, cards, prints, and gift bags, please consider joining me at the FALL Festival at Zion Lutheran Church this Saturday, November 5th, 2011, from 10 to 4.  It's located at 1604 and Braun Road.  There will be many artists and crafts artisans, plus a snack bar.  Holiday Gift ideas and shopping will be ready for you this Saturday!  Hope you'll mark your calendar!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Sunrise on the Pumpkin Patch
by Cindy Morawski

by Cindy Morawski


You're invited to the

October 22 - 23, 2011

10 AM - 6 PM Saturday

10 AM - 4 PM Sunday

On the Greenbelt in Historic Downtown Buda
Off I-35 south of Austin

Live Music, Silent Auction, Children's Art Area,  Quilt Show

Over 50 Juried Artists

FREE Festival Admission!

Taste of Buda!
Local restaurants offer the best of their menu!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Place with a View~~Ghost Ranch, N.M.

Fall Photography of New Mexico

Ghost Ranch

October 2 - 8, 2011

Over the Rainbow at Ghost Ranch


Early Dinosaur Skull from Dig at Ghost Ranch

Modern Designs of New Mexico

Weaving~~Face from the Loom

Doll with Ornamental Weavings

Meditation Garden at Ghost Ranch

Waving Grasses by the Patio

Anyone Home?

Shelter from the Storm

Inspiration for Artist Georgia O'Keefe

Path to the Art Studio

City Slickers, the movie's cabin

Peace to all who enter

View of Chimney Rock

It took millions of years . . .

Pathways of Ghost Ranch

Sky Lights

Sunset of Gold

Light and Shadow

Autumn's Peeking Through

Looking UP
When I arrived at Ghost Ranch a week ago, I ended up with a sore neck.  I kept looking up.  Up at the skies, up at the cliff formations, up at distant mountains, up at the birds.  My head was in the clouds.  The wide-open spaces wrapped their arms around me and embraced my spirit.  I couldn't get enough of the cool mountain air.  No humidity.  Boy, did that feel good after coming from San Antonio. 

I took my camera everywhere with me.  It became a part of my hand.  Snap.  Snap.  I felt a sense of urgency.  I needed to record the beauty all around me.  Somehow it made it more believable.  I breathed in deeply.  The mountain elevation gave me a lightheaded sense of uncertainty.  I knew though that I'd get adjusted to it in a day or so. 

Presence.  Yes, I guess one could name my sense of wanting to be in the moment.  I didn't want to be anywhere but Ghost Ranch.  My travels became not only a destination, but the place rooted out a space in my heart. 

The photos represent a sampling of my experiences.  It was not possible to capture it all in just a week's time.  I'd recommend it as a place to visit.  A place to take classes.  A place to devour a wild slice of America's spicy Southwestern pie. 

Happy Viewing!