Centinela Traditional Arts

Woven Stories: Weaving Traditions of Northern New Mexico

Saturday after spending time at the Taos Wool Festival, I went to see the new film by Andrea Heckman, Woven Stories: Weaving Traditions of Northern New Mexico.  This was the U.S. premier of the movie and was screened at the Taos Center for the Arts.

First I want to admit to the 100+ people in the audience that yes, it was me who shouted out, "Hey! That's my piece!" at the beginning of the movie.  I know that is probably not cool.  But I was excited to see my piece, Emergence II featured twice in the film. (I also admit that the ONE margarita I had had an hour earlier at the Adobe Bar might have influenced the outburst just a tad.)

Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence II
45 x 45 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
This film is full of wonderful voices.  Rachel Brown herself makes an appearance.  Her granddaughter and owner of Rachel's contemporary tapestry gallery Weaving Southwest, Teresa Loveless, gives a lot of information about Rachel's contribution to fiber art in northern NM.  Teresa is also featured dyeing yarn for the gallery's yarn store.  There is a Lisa Trujillo Chimayo weaving class filmed in the gallery with some thoughts by Lisa and the participants.  There are stories from Kristina Wilson and many other long-time tapestry and fiber artists in New Mexico including Tierra Wools, Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center, the Mora mill, some sheep breeders, and a little bit about puebloan weaving at Taos Pueblo.  My first tapestry teacher, Karen Martinez, talks about teaching tapestry at Northern NM College.

Fred Black talks about tapestry being like "frozen music" with its melodies and movement which I thought was a lovely metaphor.

Andrea also has a book called Woven Stories: Andean Textiles and Rituals.  The film can be ordered from www.stonecorralmedia.com.  The direct link to the page with the DVD is HERE.

Chimayo weaving with Lisa Trujillo

The American Tapestry Alliance offered a workshop in conjunction with the opening of the Small Tapestry International 2: Passages show at Weaving Southwest.  The workshop was April 3-5 at Weaving Southwest in Taos, New Mexico.

Lisa Trujillo taught a class on Chimayo weaving.  Lisa and her husband Irvin Trujillo own Centinela Traditional Arts in Chimayo, New Mexico. Both are internationally known for their weaving.  Their business employs many local weavers which allows people who wouldn't otherwise be able to sell their weaving to make a living.

There were 6 enthusiastic women from all over the country who came to Taos to relax and learn some traditional weaving from a master weaver.  Lisa proved to be an exceptional teacher and I recommend taking a workshop from her if you are interested in traditional hispanic weaving.  I'm hoping she'll eventually make her beautifully written handout into a technique book.

After a bit of a fight to tie up the big Rio Grande looms (Rachel Brown style Rio Grandes) to two treadles instead of four (they were four harness looms), we were off and running.  The class was full of people who had done a lot of weaving and they quickly picked up the Rio Grande techniques.  Some amazing little weavings were created in just a few days.

Lisa Trujillo at Weaving Southwest with the Small Tapestry International show behind her.

Barbara Richards in front of some great tapestry.

Judy Sutton

Erika Scott and Terry Olson creating some complicated designs.

We did figure out that the beating of the Rio Grandes was enough vibration to knock all those small format tapestries askew.  I kept fixing them until I realized that they were crooked again immediately.  I'm sure once the looms are gone the tapestries will stay put.