Shop offers Southwest Indian art, kachinas, traditional pottery

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It’s hard to find Lindi’s. Two pieces of printer paper are taped to the door. “Lindi’s Re-Sale & Native American Pottery” reads the top one; “Lindi’s Pottery Sales & Weaving Workshop” is below.

Owner Linda Salazar Matthews is waiting for her sign to be finished so her new business at 210-B S. Main can be found.

Janis Marston-News-Bulletin photo: Lindi’s owner Linda Salazar Matthews sells Native-American art like this kachina at her newly opened store at 210-B S. Main Street.

Once inside, brightly colored kachinas range in size from three inches to a foot or taller. One wall of the long, narrow store has shelves filled with Navajo and Acoma pottery, good-luck shields called “mandelas,” dream catchers of various sizes and decorated pipes. Purses, pillows and place mats with cowboy and Native-American designs are stacked on serape-draped tables.

Matthews eagerly shows off a large back room, with several looms and comfortable chairs. This is where she wants to have a weaving workshop. She sees it as a place for weavers to gather, not for classes — she’s only a beginning weaver — but for conversation and camaraderie.

She talks about all her different jobs. A native of New Mexico, Matthews was raised in Albuquerque. She was in the Navy for three years. Back in civilian life, and with two young children to support, she became a welder because it paid well and, in the 1970s, ended up a welder at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash.

She returned to New Mexico in the 1990s, and took a weaving class at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas. Along the way, she married her second husband and added three more children to her family. She also worked for the Albuquerque schools and Youth Development Inc. She retired from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Albuquerque.

Her children are grown and her husband works at Sandia National Laboratories, leaving Matthews home with her four dogs. She was not enjoying her retirement. She needed something to do.

“There’s more to life than staying at home, doing housework,” she said.

She decided to start her own business. This May, she found a place on South Main Street and bought out her neighbor’s inventory of Southwest Indian art.

Still learning the stories behind the pots and carvings, her enthusiasm makes up for her inexperience. The inventory ranges from $5 key chains to a $1,500 wedding vase waterfall that lacks a motor and pipes. A $350 Navajo pot is one of her favorites. She has papers of authenticity for her items, along with printed explanations of what each totem animal means.

The kachinas and traditional pottery bring her extra pride, she said, telling how her grandfather was Apache and her grandmother, Navajo. Her father was a mix of Navajo and Hispanic; her mother had German and Hispanic ancestry.

“We were raised as Hispanics,” she said. She didn’t learn of her Native-American roots until later in life and now wants to honor it by offering quality merchandise.

However, weaving is her joy, she said, and she hopes the workshop in back will draw weavers of various skills.

For now, she has a list of things to do: Meet the Fiber to Finish Guild weavers, display a table at the Greater Belen Chamber of Commerce luncheon and put up that sign.