I had a beautiful morning at the Dye Studio today! The snow was melting, the birds were chirping and each color seemed to brighten up the February landscape just a little bit more…
This is one of the slides I have come across. So far, this is the only one of this tapestry. The slide has no date or information on it. But, I am going to guess that it was done sometime around “Crossing Over”, in the early ‘90’s.
When we moved in to our new space in Arroyo Seco last October, we set it up so we could have several of our Rio Grande Walking Looms available for classes. We are able to have up to three students at a time, so classes stay small, meaning there is a lot of one-on-one time between the students and the instructor.
In our “Tapestry Weaving on a Walking Loom Class” we start out by tying-up our looms and talking a little about Design and Color.
Then we jump into Plain Weave and talk about troubleshooting any issues that may arise (curvy edges, bubbly areas, broken warp threads, etc.).
Then we begin to weave Vertical Lines, using different types of joints that can be used to create different looks. Then on into Angles and how different types of angles can be used for an endless variety of designs.
We also cover some fun design elements such as Pick-n-Pick, Wavy Line, Ojos and Building. Once the weaving is complete and class winds to an end, we cut the tapestry off of the loom and go over finish techniques and a few tricks of the trade.
This class is great for Beginners and those who have never even touched a loom before… all the way to the more Advanced Weaver, who needs a refresher in the Southwestern Style of Tapestry Weaving!
“This was a large weaving which I did on my 60-inch loom. It was done at the time of the Civil War in Rwanda. It represents the thousands of people that were killed during that war and their souls going to heaven.” – Rachel Brown
I just love this piece! I haven’t been able to find the name of it… but I am sure it will turn up eventually. I will make sure to update this when it does.
These are some of the images from the slides I had scanned recently. A couple of the slides have the date of June 1985 on them. So, I believe my Grandma, Rachel, wove this piece in the spring/summer of ’85.
Above, you can see that she wove this piece on a tapestry loom, using a building technique to create the design. With this technique, she was literally building up (weaving) one shape in the design at a time. This can be an easy way to approach weaving curves.
You can see Rachel’s love for light and natural colors in this tapestry.
This last picture, also from the recently scanned slides, is one of many taken in this space. I think this may have been an artist coop here in Taos back in the 80’s. I will be posting more images of this place and will include the name when I figure it out.
I hope you find this tapestry as inspiring as I do! Enjoy!
Happy Sunday! Today I am going to share with you part of my Grandma Rachel’s Manta Series.
She designed this series to be stunning, yet affordable. You weavers (and probably everyone else) will be able to tell that 2/3’s of each of these weavings has little to no tapestry. The plain weave on either side of the complex center makes these tapestries a lot less work than a weaving that has tapestry throughout. Therefore, the price was very reasonable for a work of art this size. Most pieces in Rachel’s Manta Series are 40”x40”.
With these three tapestries, you can see the stunning effect of the use of only two colors – a saturated base with a “white” accent. However, I don’t believe the “white” is actually white in any of these three tapestries.
My Grandma developed a series of dye recipes for our Tapestry Yarn that allows us to get five shades of one color. So, for example, Amazing Marigold was probably woven with our Marigold A and Marigold E Tapestry Yarn. A true white against any one of these colors would probably be almost too much contrast. The tiny bit of dye used in the E’s of each series of our Tapestry Yarns, allows for a “white” color that works well with the other members of that series. Look closely at Tango in Red and Amazing Marigold and you will be able to tell that there is a little bit of color in the “white”.
These are just three of many tapestries in Rachel’s Manta Series. There will be more to come! Enjoy!
A few years ago we had a show at our gallery for my Grandmother, Tapestries of Rachel Brown: A Retrospective. We borrowed pieces from about twenty of her collectors throughout the country and had them hanging for several weeks.
I remember opening the first package we received with one of her tapestries rolled up inside. I hadn’t seen her work in person in several years. We were all amazed at the beauty and the quality of the weaving when we unrolled it. Over the span of about a month, several packages like this arrived at the shop. Each one was as exciting to open as the first!
Many of Rachel’s collectors in New Mexico invited us to see her work hanging in their homes. Each person shared beautiful and amazing stories with us about how they came to own their Rachel Brown tapestry.
We had a fantastic opening! People from all over New Mexico and the rest of the country came to see Rachel and show their love for her and her work. These photos were all taken during the opening (by Kathleen Brennan).
Seeing all of these tapestries in one place together was truly inspiring!
After my Grandma passed, I inherited thousands of her slides. A few weeks ago I decided to go through a few boxes and came across a collection of images of her tapestries. They were so beautiful! I spent hours sifting through everything and realized there were hundreds of slides, and most of the pieces I had never seen before. I was so inspired! I decided I needed to get back to the loom as soon as possible.
The feelings of inspiration that stirred inside me during my Grandma’s Retrospective and when I came across all these slides need to be shared! So, I sent the slides to be scanned…
I will be posting all the images here on our blog over the next year as inspiration for you! Some of the images are high quality and have been “cleaned up”, while others are old slides that have faded slightly over the years or are snapshots Rachel took of her process while the piece was on the loom.
I hope these inspire you and encourage you to get back to the loom… or learn to weave… or pick up a paintbrush… or just make you smile. Enjoy!
About 44 years ago, my Grandma, Rachel Brown started a business right outside this window, called The Craft House . Back then there wasn’t much more in Arroyo Seco, other than Abe’s Cantina (still there) and a general store. The building The Craft House was in eventually burnt down. Now there is a beautiful little park in its place (behind the old truck). The building that still stands next to the little park now houses The Arroyo Seco Mercantile. Many years ago that same building was home to my great aunt Kristina Wilson’s business, Twining Weavers.
About a week ago, we decided to move Weaving Southwest into a beautiful little space right in the center of Arroyo Seco. This is the view from our front door.
Our new space is small, but it is perfect for what we want to focus on.
About 30 years ago, Rachel Brown started another business in Taos called Rio Grande Weavers Supply. After many years of being a well known supplier of weaving yarns, looms and weaving equipment she decided to add a gallery to her store. The gallery was known as Weavings/Southwest. After many years the two businesses began to share the name Weaving Southwest and, over time, more emphasis was put on the gallery portion of the business.
With the many changes that have been going on in our lives and with what we believe the weaving community needs right now, we have decided to focus our energy towards (what would be) Rio Grande Weavers Supply.
In our new space we will offer many types of hand-dyed weaving yarns: Rug Yarn, 2-ply Tapestry Yarn and Churro Yarn. We will be adding more beautiful fibers for weaving as the months go on. And, of course, all of these yarns are fabulous for knitting and crochet, as well.
We are also building up our stock of weaving, spinning and dyeing equipment. We will have 4 of our Rio Grande Walking Looms set up for classes and a Rio Grande Spinning Wheel available to try out. A loom or two will also be set up for us to weave some of our own rug and blanket designs.
We are so excited about Weaving Southwest/Rio Grande Weavers Supply’s new home! We hope to be open soon. Everything takes a little longer, now that we have our little Elsada Rae in our life… but we will defiantly be open by Wool Festival!
To prelude the next few posts, I would like to share a little of what has gone on here at Weaving Southwest over the last year. This year has been full of excitement, happiness and sadness, and change… lots of change.
Last October, we were able to take a trip to the beautiful land of Peru with Loomdancer Weaving Odysseys. What an amazing part of the world! We were able to visit Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Cusco and many small weaving villages throughout the country.
Shortly after we returned home from Peru, we found out that we were going to be having a baby! This led us to our decision to move out of our large retail space and, for the time being, become an internet/mail order business.
Around the same time we made this decision, Rachel Brown, my Grandmother and founder of Weaving Southwest, passed away. Though it was her time to go, this was very hard for everyone she left behind.
Many months passed until, finally, on July 26th we were able to welcome the newest member of our clan into this world, Elsada Rae Barry. She came to us happy and healthy, all that we could ask for!
So, like many other people I have talked with this year, we have had quite the wild ride. However, things seem to be settling down a bit and we are starting to feel like we are getting our feet back under us. Needless to say, these life changes have greatly affected Weaving Southwest. And we would like to thank everyone who has stuck with us through all this turmoil!
Over the next little bit, we will be posting information of the new direction of the business. We are very excited about how things are unfolding and we can’t wait to share all the news. Please join us on Facebook to see more pictures and signup for our mailing list to get more updates. Thank you! There will be more to follow soon…