I was asked to post this recent trip to this forum. I travel a fair amount domestically (USA) for work and leisure, and I have done the newsletter for my guild 10+ years, so I have the opportunity and motivation to visit places of fiber interest and write about them.
I hope you find this post helpful, especially if you are planning to come to New Mexico for any of the major conferences this summer; ATA (American Tapestry Alliance), CW (Complex Weavers) , or HGA's Convergence. I hope to see you there!
(who lives in New Jersey, works out of Iowa, and has family in Arizona. My "home" is where my stuff is, and that "stuff" usually includes a loom or two...)
I just finished a marathon fall of work travel, and now I am taking a week of vacation in the American southwest for Thanksgiving break.
This week I am visiting the northern part of the Fiber Arts Trail in NM. I am planning to attend Complex & Convergence this summer, and know I will be too focused to see all the other amazing fiber in the region at that time. (Unless I am unemployed, and then, no problem. But based on this fall's work load, that won't be likely.)
I am going to try and visit some of the folks I have gotten to "know" through other forums (WeaveTech via YahooGroups) in the next two days (Mon-Tue). I hope your studios are open, as I just can't wait.
I am VERY appreciative of the folks who started WeaveTech and the new social networking site Weavolution. The opportunity to "get to know" other weavers through an electronic medium has been incredible for me. It makes the face-to-face follow-up so much more meaningful. I am hoping that by posting here, it will encourage others to submit their fiber adventures in detail, so we can all follow the fiber-dust of YOUR boot prints!
If you want to access the trail electronically, please visit:
"Branch" Trail of the Fiber Arts in NM (Sante Fe)
I was in Santa Fe yesterday with the intention of doing the typical stuff and hitting the galleries along Canyon Road, but quickly discovered some weavers and a weaving studio that wasn't on the official "trail," so I'll post here if anyone wants to follow in my boot prints:
The Railyard, (Farmer's Market building) Artisan's Sale. Sundays only, 10-5. I met 2 weavers and saw two other textile exhibitors.
-Susie Ryan Cox (handwovens, throws, pillow, shawls)
-Leigh Alexander (handwovens, really intriguing garments, structures, colors. Asian influences in her garments.
-Hillary Harrell, surface design, dyed, light-weight wool scarves.
-Ericka Eckerstand, stylish accessories made from outdoor lawn furniture fabrics. The look was clean and Scandinavian.
There is also a cozy little weaving shop and school just off from the plaza called Sante Fe School of Weaving/Miriam's Well. Miriam herself was weaving away when I arrived, and it was great to hear the sound of the loom since I have been traveling for so long! One of her beginning students came in and we had a really nice chat. If was fun to fondle some fiber, including some of that New Zealand possum all the knitters have been abuzz about. Yes, there were cones of yarn, and also some intriguing garments for sale, accompanied with vibrant gossamer felted scarves. I saw some nuno felting kits that might have been the origin of the scarves.
You can see a lot of beautiful things in this city, but talking to the artists and craftspeople is a highlight for me.
Of Interest, but NOT weaving...
-Tomasitas has the BEST sopapillias, but they are not open on Sundays. (Adjacent to the Railyard)
-REI is also located at the Railyard, along with the store "World Market". (An interesting stop if you have never been to one before)
-Museum Hill is the one-stop place for gallery-hopping.
Fiber Trail (northern branch, continued)
My visit to the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center was SO much fun! Before I got three steps inside the door I was entranced by one of their "walk 'n weave" opportunities. I had NO idea standing at a loom and weaving was so comfortable and fun, and I really did get to "dance" over a set of treadles in a way I have never experienced before. I hope there will be some opportunities at Convergence for others to share this interesting "vertical" and less sedentary weaving experience!
The facility is bright, spacious and well-equipped. I was in complete awe of the number of looms available to rent at an incredibly reasonable cost ($1 per day for members!). Don't miss taking a peek in the way-back "Creative Space," as the colored warps on some of these looms were just mesmerizing. Measuring in at 100" wide, I also saw the biggest hand-shuttle Glimakra floor loom in my travels so far, and it was warped at nearly full width! And although my New Jersey guild has an excellent library, the lending library in the loom room was the second biggest library I have seen in my travels to far. (The largest I have visited was housed at the Textile Center in Minneapolis.)
When I signed the guest book to receive their electronic newsletter, I noticed I was following in some other well-known "boot prints"; Catherine Ellis recently preceded me in the guest book, and I am pretty sure I spotted a Walt Turpening loom bench in the Creative Space.
Pam (the EVFAC representative working the day I visited) was extremely informative about the center and told me about the regional guilds, while Chloe (the studio dog) was quite perky but a bit shy around strangers. Of course, I didn't need to add to my stash, but when you see the collection of hand-dyed yarns and churro products available, well...
Every stop both this year and last has found a warm welcome and fascinating weavers. The amount of organization and cooperation to put something like this Fiber Trail together is quite impressive.
Of Interest, but NOT weaving...
Blakes Lotaburger, just down the street from the EVFAC. The regional way to eat your burger is with green chile, so if unsure, order it on the side. But DO give it a try— it's not a burn-your-mouth kind of chile, it's a more of flavorful kind of chile.
Centinela Traditional Arts
(Sorry for the delay in posting this one. Too much turkey on Thursday made me lethargic! I see Weavolution partner Claudia has been to this location in the last year too!)
The 80-word paragraph in the Fiber Trails booklet just can't begin to describe this stop. (That probably applies to all the other stops, too!) On the way to Chimayo you'll see lots of signs for weavers, but I was a woman on a mission. I knew weaver Lisa Trujillo has posted to the forum in the past, and I love to meet other members in their studios if my travel allows it.
When we arrived, Lisa was out, but Irvin was in the studio weaving. If you aren't blown away by the blankets displayed in the first room, the coats, accessories, and additional blankets in the second room, your breath will certainly be taken away when you see Irvin's 12 foot HAND-built loom, AND the commission he is weaving on it. But take a deep breath before you glance over his shoulder, because you'll see his "hobby," a lively and truly sensational textile emerging just over the cloth beam of a more rustic and traditional looking loom. Wow. For those of you who love to dye your own colors, Irvin is the man. The combination of rich deep hues and sparkle are pretty simple words to try and describe the intricate designs he is producing on this particular loom.
I believe it was mentioned previously the forum that Irvin is a NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) National Heritage Fellow. When in Santa Fe, I was told about an exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art (located on Museum Hill) of New Mexico NEA Fellows. According to the site, the exhibit runs through May 22nd, 2011. (www.internationalfolkart.org/exhibitions/current.html). So if you can't get to Chimayo, perhaps you can visit the museum to see some of his and other amazing New Mexico NEA Fellows work.
When Lisa arrived, I learned I was following in Ruth Blau's boot prints today. And then Lisa showed me the loom in the front room that I had completely overlooked.
This was Irvin's father's loom, who was also a distinguished weaver in the region. (In fact, don't miss reading about Irv and Lisa, and the Trujillo family's weaving history in the second room. Or pick up one of their books, like I did.) Lisa was weaving a beautiful and softly colored asymmetrical geometric pattern, and like Irvin, had a million small bobbins of weft laying at the fell line, ready for the next pick. I was also stuck by the autobiographical (my words) blanket Lisa wove, hanging in the first room. As a graphic designer by profession, this composition really resonated with me as soon as I walked in the door.
In terms of my free-range weaving adventures, this was one of those stops that I wouldn't have wanted to miss for the world!
P.S. James Koehler's studio is also a "nearby" stop if you are heading back down to Sante Fe. Be aware that distances between sites are sometimes 30 minutes to an hour or more.