My mom and I went to a celebration of artist Pozzi Franzetti's life at the Taos Country Club today.
Pozzi (pronounced Posey with a long o) died on November 26th, 2012. If you didn't know her or if you did know her, you might want to click on this 2-minute video about her.
I knew Pozzi because when I was a young teenager, my little brother Andrew took welding classes from her, and our house began to fill up with the amazing creations he made in her studio. He was about eight years old, and he would put on all of her welding gear, the leather, the goggles, the gloves, and after teaching him the basics she would basically let him loose to create.
Those objects still fill my mother's house. They are light-switch covers and sculptures in two and three dimensions, space-ships and rockets, and dancing clownish figures with motorcycle chains for legs and musical notes for mouths.
Pozzi was a lot of things to a lot of people. Jo Carey told a story about how she used to be a barmaid with Pozzi back in 1974, at a bar on Taos Plaza, run by (who else?) Bill Whaley.
Mr. Whaley got said that bar was "Rated R for violence" and one of the main reasons he'd hired Pozzi was because of her "stature." She was a big, strong woman. "She could handle the drinkers," said Bill.
The word at the memorial service was that nobody could beat her at racquetball.
I don't know if I knew that Pozzi had ever waited tables, but I remember back when I was about 16, around the same time she was teaching my brother to weld, when I was bussing tables at a fancy restaurant that had stone floors and heavy, pewter plates, and somehow I dropped a tray full of plates and glasses on that stone floor in a crowded dining room, it made an insane crashing sound and made a horrific mess and the pewter plates kept resounding and doing this spinning thing on the floor making these wah-wah-wah sounds for what seemed like forever, and I was mortified, and Pozzie put her hand on my shoulder and talked to me and told me some kind of a story that made me feel a lot better. I can't remember exactly what she told me but I suspect it may have had to do with her own experience as a server when something that seemed catastrophic occurred but really in the end it was no big deal.
Around that time, Pozzi was hitting it pretty big on the national scene with her sculptures, which she was mass-producing in her own factory that she'd designed and built herself, literally with her own hands, and the sculptures were available in Robert Redford's Sundance Catalogue.
In fact, one year they were the top-selling item in the catalogue, and yet she was still intensely involved not just in her own daughter Jessie's life, (she designed and hand-sewed every one of Jessie's Halloween costumes, Jessie said) but in the lives of all of her daughters' friends (my brother was in that same age group with Jessie, and that's why I got to know Pozzi) and she took the time to work individually with him, at the age of eight, and she brought out some kind of genius in him.
It goes without saying that there were a LOT of people at the service. The country club was standing room only.
Jessie is a mom now, her newest was born before Pozzi passed on, and Pozzi got to play with her youngest grandchild and hold her before she went.