In conjunction with Small Tapestry International 2: Passages, the American Tapestry Alliance organized a Northern New Mexico Studio Tour on Saturday, April 2. We had a mini-bus with local tapestry artist and blogger Rebecca Mezoff as our guide, and a very pleasant and reassuring driver, who ferried us to four studios in the area.The first stop was Metier Gallery, in Dixon, where we saw all kinds of handwoven items, from rugs and tapestries, to baskets and delicious wearables. Next was Centinela Traditional Arts, in Chimayo, which is owned by the renowned Rio Grande weavers, Irvin and Lisa Trujillo.
Jeane George Weigel wrote two wonderful and thoroughly researched stories about them, with photos and video, on her blog High Road Artist. After you read about Irvin, read part 1, about Lisa here.Both Irvin and Lisa weave gorgeous tapestries and rugs and have won many honors and awards. They also operate a business that sells their own work and that of other local weavers to collectors around the world, enabling many weavers to earn a living.
Lisa showed us how quickly she can weave a large Saltillo rug, standing at the old loom that Irvin’s father built.
I’m intrigued by the standing looms. I suspect they may be better for the body than sitting all day long.
A fabric weaver friend was diagnosed with a case of Weaver’s Bottom (really!), and standing would certainly prevent that! I don’t know if it’s hard on the feet or any other body parts….
We had lunch at the famous Rancho de Chimayo, where we enjoyed comparing the amount of heat in the red sauce vs the green. I thought the red was a bit hotter, but both were pretty mild.
Then on to Ortegas Weaving Shop, also in Chimayo. This spacious shop has huge piles of rugs from small mug rugs and placemats, to large floor rugs, all with simple traditional designs.
I think the delicate white lines in this piece are called jaspe, but I can’t find any confirmation of that. Please let me know if I’m wrong. Ortega’s also sells clothing made from the handwoven wool fabric. The last studio we visited was the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center, a cooperative gallery and educational facility.
You can buy all kinds of fiber art there, as well as materials and equipment.
I was delighted to find some of the lovely white wool warp (Clasgens) that I’d seen Lisa Trujillo using. It’s thinner than any other wool tapestry warp I’ve used before, and I think it will work at 10 epi. I can’t wait to try it out!
We used one of the rooms at EVFAC for a slide show of work by Rebecca Mezoff and Cornelia Theimer Gardella (Connie).
The slide show included images from Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus, a collaboration between Rebecca, Connie, and James Koehler. The exhibit traveled from a modern Albuquerque gallery to a small church, in the medieval town of Erfurt, Germany, last summer and fall. Such beautiful work.
After the slide show, Connie showed us some actual tapestries, and dye samples (left). We were all impressed with Connie’s perfect tapestry circle, which, as any tapestry weaver can tell you, is very difficult to achieve.
My photo was taken from a strange angle as the tapestry is fairly large, and it was lying on a table, but you can still see how smoothly the curves are woven.
It was a wonderful day, and in addition to visiting the studios, we had the excellent company of our fellow tapestry artists. It was fun catching up with old friends and getting acquainted with new. We arrived back at the hotel with about a half hour to clean up and walk across the street for the opening reception at Weaving Southwest.