Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Hobak Priscilla

Priscilla Hoback

Honored October, 2017

Priscilla Hoback

A true woman of the west.  A true person of the earth. A native New Mexican, Priscilla Hoback epitomizes the essence of New Mexico, through her art, her lifestyle, her history. She is a unique artist of the highest caliber, writer, storyteller, teacher, businesswoman, horse whisperer, master gardener, earth mother.  Seeped in the history and tradition of the southwest, Priscilla embodies and lives the culture, history and tradition of New Mexico.  

Priscilla comes from a prominent New Mexican family.  She was a family partner in the landmark historic Pink Adobe restaurant which attracted locals and drew visitors to its excellent southwestern cuisine served in a warm southwestern ambiance. She owned a gallery on Canyon Road before moving to the village of Galisteo almost 40 years ago.

Priscilla lives in a traditional, historically significant, hand-built, ancient adobe in the village of Galisteo. Her Quartermill Farm houses her studio. Priscilla is an internationally recognized artist for her unique clay work. Her art is shown at  prestigious galleries in Santa Fe and across the US. Keeping with tradition, she digs her clay from the Galisteo basin, works her material by hand and fires in her hand built kiln.  She creates sculpture and wall murals which incorporate ancient Indian “cave” themes and other real life forms of wildlife. Her friends say, “Her love of life is molded into something we can hold in our hands… Holding one of her pots, or studying a large ceramic mural, one feels the breadth and depth of our southwestern landscape come alive.” Limitless in her abilities, Priscilla also paints in egg tempera, makes monotypes and draws on rag papers. She has written two books: In Living Clay, and another that shares vignettes about living in Galisteo and New Mexico. Not surprisingly she is a “hacienda” chef creating the wonderful aromas that waft from her kitchen.  Priscilla transformed her property into a highly productive, small organic farm. Her recipe for building fertile organic soil? ”Dig down deep to remove the clay, compost everything, and most of all “be ready for the smell of horse manure—lots and lots of horse manure!”

Her generosity is legendary.  Priscilla creates workshops, fosters musicians, and opens her studio for others to show their work. Thirty years ago Priscilla helped create the popular and thriving Galisteo Studio tour. She is an active participant in community meetings, always lending a clear and compassionate voice to the discussions. She is well respected for her good neighbor policy toward life: her door is always open to fellow residents and makes everyone feel special and welcome. She is known for her signature laugh as well as her gracious hospitality.

Priscilla was a superb horse woman who raised, trained, and rode her beloved Arabian horses.  When young, she was New Mexico’s champion barrel racer.

It is said,” Priscilla is a supreme example of human endurance and courage.  From set backs  would have devastated a weaker person, she has forged ahead with true western grit and determination.”

The following appreciation shows even more the breadth and depth of this remarkable woman, “She is an energy vortex, drawing people and animals to her.  Priscilla has some extra other vitality beyond the coping with the mundane day after day…she can walk into a room and the books suddenly look alert and begin to talk, the wine bottle begs to be uncorked, the napping blacksmith wakes up and wants to build a gate.  She is made of the southwest landscape, the clay she works with, the top of the dirt roads in Santa Fe covered with an old adobe house and mighty cottonwoods, she is made of gypsy blood and dancing by a fire in the rain,…I not only want to say that her geraniums talk to her, that she listens.  That her listening has brought the big birds to her trees, the coyote, the wolves, the bear to her orchard.”

Anyone who experiences her art and wisdom gets a glimpse into a vision of the southwest that few people are lucky enough to experience. She is inspirational in her being and her contributions are a gift beyond measure.



Story by Nancy Dahl

Photo © 2017 by Genevieve Russell