Weaving Travels – Santa Fe

by Nancy Ebner

In April, I spent a week in Santa Fe, New Mexico and wove a rug on a 2-harness, Rio Grande loom. Rio Grande looms are also called “Walking Looms” because you stand at the loom, instead of sitting at the loom and step on the treadles to work the harnesses. They are counterbalance in nature, so they generate an excellent weaving shed. I had such a great time in Santa Fe that I want to share my experience and a bit of what I learned.

Native American and Spanish weaving traditions are evident in the southwest region. The term Rio is a general term that represents weaving traditions of Hispanic New Mexico. Chimayo weaving is a traditional style that is described as having two stripes (top and bottom) with a center design in between. There are a lot of opportunities for Rio Grande and Chimayo weaving instruction in and near Santa Fe.

–Loom Dancers Santa Fe offers classes with tapestry artist, Cari Sample Malver on Rio Grande or Mirrix looms. Last year I visited Santa Fe for a tapestry workshop at their “Casita de Tejedores”. Loom Dancer also runs four Textile Tours annually to various destinations around the world. Their website is: loomdancersantafe.com

–In the town of Chimayo, about 25 miles away, you will find Centinela Traditional Arts. Irvin and Lisa Trujillo make and sell Rio Grande Textiles and their website gives a nice overall description of traditional styles and Chimayo weaving. The Trujillo family offers a variety of classes through Centinela Traditional Arts. Their website is: www.chimayoweavers.com

–I also discovered the source of beautifully made Rio Grande looms and Chimayo weaving tools at Los Vigiles Living Traditions Fiber Studio and Supply. I literally gasped when I found it! The looms are made by hand and are available in 2 or 4 harnesses. Their email is warpweave65@gmail.com. I was told they offer classes when I inquired.

In addition to weaving, I took in a Symphony at Pro Musica (Mozart’s Requiem), a Flamenco performance, a day pass to Ojo SF Spa, a morning at the SF Botanical Garden, a hike at Dale Ball Trails hiking area and a visit to Santuario de Chimayo. Did I mention museums? I wandered three museums: The International Folk Museum, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. I had been to The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian featuring Zuni, Navajo, and Pueblo silver jewelry, on my first trip and it was too early in the season to witness the famous Santa Fe Opera.

Where will your weaving take you? Will it be to the Weaver’s Guild of MN at Open Book? To an international destination or to your home studio? Wherever it takes you, I hope you will find your happy place.

Picture, top: I wove a simple plain weave rug in Southwest colors.
Picture, bottom: Here is one of the gorgeous Rio Grande looms and its maker