Alphabet Soup Tapestries

Alphabet Soup hits Santa Fe

I was able to go and visit the Alphabet Soup tapestry show at the Santa Fe Public Library, Southside branch this morning. Although I wrote a blog post about this Alphabet Soup show HERE, I had not actually seen it in person until today. It is a joint venture between two weaving guilds in northern New Mexico, the Las Aranas Weavers and Spinners Guild and Las Tejadoras Fiber Arts Guild. They wove small tapestries with letters of the alphabet (really you should go look at that prior post as the photos of the group and some of the close-ups are great!).
I had not been to the Southside library before. The added benefit was that I came away with a library card and some Spanish language DVDs. All in a days work, I say.
Please keep in mind that these images are snapshots only. These are beautiful tapestries and these snapshots can only give you a general idea of what they look like. If you can possibly go and see the show, please do!
The spread of the small alphabet tapestries
Here are some closer shots of the panels.
I posted many pictures of the small tapestries in the earlier blog post. But here is one spider I really loved today.
"T is for tarantula", detail, Mary Colton
I was so pleased to see the other stunning pieces displayed in addition to the alphabet tapestries.
My World, Evelyn Campbell (top left) and Mary Colton (right). Memories of Mitla, Ann Shafer (bottom right)
Vision Quest, Sharon van de Velde; When the Ocean and Desert were One, (top) Elizabeth Buckley; Desert Memory, (bottom) Elizabeth Buckley; Red, Black, and Gold (Fractured Square Series), Donna Loraine Contractor; Broken Steps, Alex Lear; Once There Was a River II, Mary Colton
New Mexico Waits for Rain, (top) Janice Thomson Peters; Sagrado Familia Capilla Near Black Mesa, (bottom) Evelyn Campbell
Balloons, Cindy Dworzak; Navajo, Klagetoh Style, Lavonne Slusher; Morning Patio, Mary Cost; Edges and Ledges, Donna Loraine Contractor; School of Thought, Heather Gallegos-Rex; Revelation, Letty Roller
And a few closer looks.
Once There Was a River II, Mary Colton
I love this piece by Letitia Roller. I have seen it other places and I feel like it needs a large grand wall for display. It is simply gorgeous and unfortunately is partly hidden behind a shelf in the library.
Revelation, Letty Roller
Revelation, detail
As a tapestry weaver, I frequently find myself looking at the technique in a tapestry. I have always used Donna Loraine Contractor as an example of someone who uses dovetail joins very effectively. I had to really study this piece because I was convinced at first they were sewn slits. But I think they are expertly done dovetails. Pretty amazing.
Edges and Ledges, Donna Loraine Contractor
Edges and Ledges, detail
And I love Mary Cost's work. Here is a piece I hadn't seen before.
Morning Patio, Mary Cost
Morning Patio, detail
And someone near and dear to my heart partly because she was working on the concept for this piece in James Koehler's studio while I was struggling with my own tapestry demons, Evelyn Campbell.
Sagrado Familia Capilla Near Black Mesa, Evelyn Campbell
And since this is Balloon Fiesta week in Albuquerque, go see Cindy Dworzak's Balloons. It is so much fun!
Balloons, Cindy Dworzak
See my prior post about the Alphabet Soup tapestries with some great photos taken by Dan Klinglesmith on my blog at: /rebeccamezoff/2013/06/alphabet-soup.html.
And if you go and see the show, leave a comment below to tell me what you think! I will have to go and have another look before it comes down.

UPDATE 10/14/13: The Alphabet Soup show will be at the Southside Library in Santa Fe at 6599 Jaguar Drive through October 30th. It will hang at the Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos, NM January 31 to March 15th, 2014.

Alphabet Soup

There are some exceptionally talented tapestry weavers in northern New Mexico. The Alphabet Soup project's history is detailed below. I want to encourage you to go and see this show if you possibly can. I know many of these weavers personally and have met most of them in some way. These tapestries are enchanting and their dedication to producing a show like this and finding numerous venues including an ongoing search for a Convergence 2014 venue, is noteworthy.

Here are some photos of the weavers along with the letter or number they wove.
photo: Dan Klinglesmith
photo: Dan Klinglesmith
photo: Dan Klinglesmith
I didn't make it to Albuquerque to see them in May, but you can bet I will see them when they come to Santa Fe... or perhaps this is a good excuse for a trip to Durango.
Where you can see Alphabet Soup

  • Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM, May 23-25, 2013
  • Intermountain Weavers Conference, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, July 26-27, 2013
  • Macey Center, Socorro, NM, August 1-29, 2013
  • Southside Library, Santa Fe, NM, October 1-31, 2013
  • Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos, NM, January 14-March 22, 2014
  • American Tapestry Alliance Small Format Show, March to September 2014

Alphabet Soup History (taken from the publicity for the show)

"Alphabet Soup" came out of the meeting of two tapestry weavers, one from the Las Aranas Spinners and Waavers Guild and one from the Las Tejedoras Fiber Arts Guild. The weavers were attending an Intermountain Weavers Conference tapestry workshop in 2011.  In February 2012, the Tapestry Study Groups of the two guilds met and decided to collaborate on a project involving twenty-nine weavers.

As the name suggests, "Alphabet Soup" has an underlying theme of the alphabet and numbers much like the children's books illustrated to teach us our letters and numbers. It is a series of small tapestries using a wide range of fibers and techniques from traditional tapestry to surface, warp and weft manipulations. The size of each piece is approximately 9.5 x 9.5 inches. The tapestries included in the exhibit are works completed during 2012-2013. Each weaver was assigned a letter or number and created a representational, metaphorical, or abstract design using a color scheme of the weaver's choosing. The letter or number which is the theme of the piece can be obvious or hidden.

Las Aranas was founded in 1971 and was composed of mainly Albuquerque residents. Las Tejedoras was founded twenty-five years ago and was composed of weavers from the Santa Fe and Los Alamos areas. Since that time, both guilds have added members in central New Mexico from Taos in the north to Socorro in the south, and Moriarty in the east to Magdalena in the west.

These guilds provide educational experiences to their members and participate in projects that increase awareness of the fiber arts. The Tapestry Study Groups within each guild are focused on the study of tapestry design and technique and the sharing of expertise with fellow guild members. Our Tapestry Study Groups include beginning tapestry weavers who are just learning the discipline and experienced artists who have taught and exhibited all over New Mexico, the United States, and internationally.

The websites for the two guilds are:
Las Aranas:
Las Tejedoras:

Here are a few closer shots of some of the tapestries. Go see the show for the full effect!
Cindy Dworzak, Airplane in Air   photo: Dan Klinglesmith

Alex Lear, 'F' is for Friends    photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Sharon Van de Velde, "G"   photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Jeanne Adams, Hat, Handbag, and Heels    photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Letitia Roller, Uh-O   photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Mary Colton, 'T' is for Tarantula   photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Karen Crislip, Venerable old adobe in the village of Corrales    photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Kathy Perkins, Zebbie's Mom   photo: Nancy Wohlenburg
Diane Beck, Prayer to the four directions  photo: Dan Klinglesmith