Finding art among the horses in wild west Wickenburg, Arizona

Dave Lookingbill, Furniture Maker

Dave Lookingbill, Furniture Maker

It was one of those sunny winter days when we headed north of Phoenix on Highway 60 to Wickenburg, Arizona. Wickenburg, popularly dubbed  “The Dude Ranch Capitol of the World,” is known for rolling hills, old mines, horses and, yes, dude Ranches.

In Search of Craftsmanship
My snowbird friend, newly in from Minnesota for a winter of sunshine and outdoor activities, was on the hunt for southwest-design, hand-made furniture. She had the name of a well-respected furniture maker, Dave Lookingbill of Wickenburg, Arizona.

With our appointment set for late morning, we drove up a winding, cactus-studded road in search of Dave’s home and workshop. Dave and Susanne settled into a true “wild west” desert home overlooking the rolling hills around Wickenburg.  We enjoyed our visit with Dave, and were amazed at the level of workmanship in the furniture he carefully makes in his workshop. Originally from rural Idaho, Dave had worked as a farrier and wrangler. Dave studied joinery, finish techniques and the evolution of New Mexican furniture in the Spanish Colonial Style (circa 1600 – 1940). But his Dos Perros furniture had a more delicate, finished look.

We were fortunate to be able to tour his home which is full of the beauty of his work and the art and folk art collections of the couple. These elements meshedDos Perros Furniture beautifully with the workmanship and unique style of the furniture. Today, Dave’s furniture can be found in homes from California to Connecticut. Every piece is custom-made, designed to complement the home it occupies. Quite often Dave visits his customer’s homes before designing furniture for the space.

Back in Town
Of course, after visiting Dave, we wanted to connect with his “other half,” Susanne, who owns Susanne & Co, a surprisingly current boutiqueat  69 Frontier St.  in “downtown” Wickenburg. Susanne & Company was devoid of the usual Wickenburg style of dress…

Susanne and Company Boutique

Susanne and Company Boutique

western boots, tailored cowboy shirts and broomstick skirts. Susanne, like her husband, has an eye for the finer aspects of style while ensuring a fit with the desert lifestyle.

Wickenburg, with its mining history and wild west reputation is also known for art. There are several galleries downtown and the wonderful Desert Caballeros Western Museum is a real find. With an annual showing of western art by women artists, the museum has become a destination for visitors to the Phoenix area.

In March, the annual “Cowgirl Up” art show is a real draw for visitors who enjoy the art and festivities at the Museum.

Wickenburg has horses, history and outdoor recreation. But for the lover of art and fine craftsmanship, this small western town is not to be ignored.

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

More Information

Dos Perros Furniture

Susanne & Company

Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Cowgirl Up Event

Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce

Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose