Dotted across the plains of northern New Mexico are a handful of caves carved by hand into the soft sandstone mesas and decorated with intricate organic motifs. These subterranean sculptures are the work of local artist Ra Paulette, who has spent almost 30 years excavating this arid landscape and creating characterful grottoes that he calls "luminous caves".
Using only hand tools, including pick axes, shovels and scrapers, the 69-year-old sculptor burrows into the sides of the cliffs, opening up vertical shafts as he works to provide ventilation and natural light. Practical features such as staircases, windows and doors are integrated to make the caves suitable for use as sanctuaries or places for meditation.
Paulette sometimes carves the inner surfaces with forms resembling flowers, figures and tree trunks.
Our tour of one of Ra Pauletts creations is not open to the public, is only offered with New Mexico Wine Tours on private property.
May be included with your custom tour day of exploring New Mexico with advance reservations.
To see this wonderful work of art you must be able to walk up a trail to get to it.
Let us know it you would like to add this wonder to your tour.
For the past two decades, Ra Paulette has been making caves. Working alone with only the few tools he can carry on his back – a wheelbarrow, a pickaxe, and a shovel – he spends hours each day excavating the soft sandstone of New Mexico to create his otherworldly land art.