Unlimited Limited
 Alpine Avalanche
Article 08/30/07
Bet You've Seen Petei
an article by Cindy Perry, Editor
of the Alpine Avalanche
     You’ve probably seen her around town on her mountain bike running errands. Or you’ve been on one of her guided hikes in the Davis Mountains, looking for ferns or orchids. Or perhaps you’ve seen her hand-crafted jewelry, her multimedia artworks, her photographs or her needlework designs. Chances are that if you’ve lived in Alpine for any length of time, you’ve run into (not over) Petei Guth.
     She’s an artist extraordinaire, an outdoorswoman and naturalist, a bird watcher and a cat lover (yes, you can be both), a photographer who views life as a dyslexic and an unrepentant fan of exotic cars. Alas, Guth says, she just couldn’t afford to keep maintaining her Alfa Romeo, what with everything else she’s got going on. Alpine is where she wants to base that everything else.
     Guth got her first glimpse of the Big Bend 30 years ago when an ex-husband’s employee told Petei to check out this wide-open country.
     Driving all night from Austin, Guth slept in the car in the basin at Big Bend National Park, awakening to see the basin at sunrise. She was hooked.
Before moving here for good 14 years ago, Petei said, “I made at least one trip a year, sometimes twice a year, and I’d meet friends at the park. 
     “I decided to move here once my needlepoint business got going, so I (visited) all the towns around here — Marfa, Marathon, Terlingua — well … Terlingua! I needed a place where you could get groceries, be in a food cooperative and use UPS, and Alpine just seemed like the place.”
     Guth took her time visiting various properties for sale, but when she saw a place in Sunny Glen Estates that was facing some cliffs, she was hooked — again. A piece of heaven (property) was bought, but it would be several years before she managed to move here. Although she since has moved into Alpine proper, where she manages a condo complex, Petei still owns what she calls her “garage” at Sunny Glen — and it’s chock-full of yarn, art supplies, weaving looms and her soon-to-be-departing car.
     Petei focuses primarily on her needlepoint designs, which are sold at 160 or so shops around the country. They’re not available in the Big Bend or Permian Basin, so the nearest towns for needlepointers to get her wares are Lubbock, San Antonio, Austin. Or they can go to her website (www.petei.com) and order by catalog number, then contact a shop; she’s a wholesaler only.
     Her needlepoint specialty is “Petei’s People,” but she also designs nursery rhyme characters, storybook characters, Santa Clauses and more.
     “I also do a lot of Texana – Merry Texas, Santa in a sleigh being pulled by a longhorn, armadillo,” she said. Petei also has designed the “Twelve Days of Texmas” that feature seven rattlers rattlin’, nine gals a-steppin’ 11 roadrunners running — well, you get the idea.
The naturalist also, naturally, designs lots of florals and botanicals.
     Which leads to another of her passions: Petei has turned into a fern specialist. And although most people — visitors and probably residents, too, wouldn’t think that ferns grow in the Big Bend … well, they’d be wrong.
     “It fascinated me that you could go to the desert down there and Big Bend National Park, and there are ferns,” she said.
     “At Sul Ross, I would go up to the herbarium every Wednesday and have lunch, talk plant, talk books, talk music. And Sharon Yarborough, who at the time was assistant curator, said, ‘We don’t have someone who collect ferns; you want to collect ferns?’ And I said, ‘Sure.’”
     And that’s one of the reasons Petei became a West Texas fern specialist. That and the fact that she’s discovered some previously undetected species, plus she’s learned from Sul Ross experts how to draw botanicals the way botanists want them drawn. She finds that kind of work fascinating. (Actually, she finds West Texas, hummingbirds, plants, clouds, critters and nearly everything else in this region fascinating.)
     Guth regularly leads hikes into Fern Canyon in the Davis Mountains to check out the rare ferns and other plant life, and she has a habit of taking lots of photographs. Since, by her own admission, she is dyslexic, Petei looks at nature with a different eye. For example, she took a photograph of clouds reflected in water, then turned the picture upside down and decided that was the favored view.
     She grew up going out to the Maryland and Kentucky woods and forests with her parents, so being a naturalist comes — well, naturally.

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Designs by Petei
Post Office Box 218
Alpine, Texas 79831-0218

Voice - 432.837.1036

Fax - 707.261.9744


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