5 Above and Below

Above and Below, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed wool, 40″ x 40″, 2002

This is another beautiful tapestry from the Manta series, with solid background and design across the center. Other tapestries from this series include Solola, Blue Lightning, Tango in Red and Amazing Marigold. Enjoy!

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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10 Mirage

Mirage, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed, 43″ x 45″, 1998

“My good friend Connie Taylor raises Churro sheep and has, in her collection of livestock, many different natural colors of the sheep. I chose all her different natural color fleeces and put them together in a simple way of squares and diagonals.” –RB

My Grandma, Rachel, had this tapestry on the loom when I went away to college. She was always trying to get me to weave with more neutral colors, as my pallet at the time, consisted mainly of red, oranges, blues and the like. I remember thinking there was no way this neutral piece of hers was going to turn out well.

Many years later, we had a retrospective of her work at Weaving Southwest. Connie Taylor was kind enough to loan us Mirage. This was the first time I had seen this piece complete. We hung all my Grandma’s tapestries on the walls of the gallery for the opening. Each was beautiful in its own way, but Mirage was by far my favorite. Between the subtle color changes and the simplicity of the design, I was finally inspired to incorporate neutrals into my color palette. Thank you, Gram!

I hope this piece inspires you too! Take a look at Serenity with an Edge to see a more colorful tapestry from the series. Enjoy!

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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20 Serenity with an Edge

Serenity with an Edge, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed wool, 44″ x 44″, 1999

“This is probably my favorite type of design, where I used very simple geometric forms and accented them with a few diagonals.” –RB

Keep an eye out for next week’s post, Mirage, another one of the tapestries in this series. Enjoy!

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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18 Study in Neutrals

Study in Neutrals, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed wool, 74.4″ x 31″, 1997

My grandma, Rachel, loved to work in neutrals, using the subtle beauty of the natural wool to create her designs. This tapestry is a perfect example of her use of greys, blacks, whites and beiges, with a splash or two of color to pull it all together. Enjoy!

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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15 The First Tapestry

The First Tapestry, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn,
54″ x 78″, 1960

This weaving was inspired by looking at the reflection in the window of my husband’s abstract paintings. The reflection in the window made the forms distorted and wavy.

I worked for the welfare department and my district was northern New Mexico. So I was always looking at beautiful colored sheep. I didn’t buy the yarn from the ranchers, I bought the raw fleece. I would go into their house and ask them if they had any wool from that sheep. I would come home with my trunk full of wool and ticks. So that was a nasty experience. But I met some wonderful ranchers.

I received some beautiful natural grey, black and brown fleeces. I found out that when you see a brown sheep in the field it doesn’t mean it’s brown- it’s black with sun-bleached tips so it looks brown.

One of the ranchers was Ariano and a few years later I went up to that same area because I was interested in land up there. I met him when he was 75 years old. He was sitting on his horse, upright, and trotting along like he was a 25 year old. And that fleece I handspun myself on the spinning wheel that my husband built for me, which is the prototype of the Rio Grande wheel.

Incidentally, my husband’s name was Malcolm Brown, who’s quite a well-known Taos artist of the 50’s. Along with a group of other artists, they were known as the Taos Moderns.

After I spun the yarn, I washed it and dyed it with commonplace Rit dyes because I’ve always done colored textiles. I created silk-screened printed textiles and I majored in color at my college at Radcliffe.

Incidentally, when I worked at the welfare department, out job was to visit the families in the field, which doesn’t mean “in the fields”, it just means in our work area in northern New Mexico. I love the district that I was given because it was all wool ranchers and their families. And then I would come back to the office and dictate into a machine and the secretaries would transcribe my stories.

This tapestry was woven on a Navajo loom, which I learned about in my readings. I set up a large Navajo loom because I certainly didn’t have a regular loom to weave on. I learned the hard way about weaving on a Navajo loom. I started on one end and I thought aha! I’ll be clever and just turn the loom upside down and start at the other end and weave it together in the middle. Well, I found out that that is not a good way to work on a Navajo loom. The Navajo loom is designed to have a very strong tension on the warp and is much more rigid on the end than it is on the middle so I made that mistake once. I never made that one again.   –Rachel Brown

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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01 Point of Departure

Point of Departure, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed wool, 41.5″ x 40.5″, 1989

For many of my weavings I have a system of design, inspired by a linear design on an American Indian pot. Then I chose my colors to gradate and alternate. The colors go from yellow to orange through red. Then the natural colors that alternate range from natural beige and white though gray and darker gray and finally black.

This weaving was chosen by Janet Webb to be on the cover of the Taos Vacation Guide for the year 1997 to 1998. –Rachel Brown

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS – Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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12 Despues Oaxaca

Despues Oaxaca, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed wool, 39.5″ x 39.5″, 2000

This weaving was done after I made a trip to Oaxaca with two weaver friends of mine. On that trip, we saw weavings by a certain artist. He had a special technique for doing curves, even vertical curves, which is very hard for a weaver to do without having all these stepping-stones. Using his techniques I made smooth, round curves and a design similar to one of his designs. –Rachel Brown

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS – Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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Interweave in Mauve, 45” x 60”, woven by Rachel Brown in 1989. This tapestry is part of Rachel’s Interweave Series, including the hand-spun, natural tapestries, Interweave Black and Interweave White. It is also the inspiration for our class, Interweave, A Study in Angles.

24 interweave in mauve(1)

Interweave in Mauve, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, hand-dyed yarn,
45″ x 60″, 1989

PS Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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This beautiful original tapestry was woven in 1990 by my Grandma, Rachel Brown. Partial Sunlight is 60”x40.5” and woven from our hand-dyed yarns.

02 Partial Sunlight

Partial Sunlight, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown

Ciao,
Teresa and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS Does this tapestry inspire you? Remind you of anything? Have you seen this piece in person? We would love to hear from you! Leave a message in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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“While I was weaving this design, there happened to be the forest fire in Llama (New Mexico) that destroyed many of my friend’s homes. I can remember stepping out of the studio while weaving the middle section and I decided right then that I would call it Habitat.” -Rachel Brown

This tapestry is woven with our hand-dyed Rio Grande 2-ply Tapestry Yarn. Enjoy!

Habitat, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown

Habitat, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown