Vicky has been talking classes with us for three years now. When she came to town this winter she decided she wanted to rent a loom from us to weave a striped rug. She started by choosing her colors of Rug Yarn and wound all of her bobbins. She chose to weave a random striped rug. However, she wanted some consistency, so she chose four widths to work with 1″, 3″, 5″ and 7″. She wrote each of these numbers down on little pieces of paper and put them into a container. She cut a snippet of each skein of yarn she planned on using and put them in another container. Then she picked out (with eyes closed) a snippet of yarn and a piece of paper. If she choose a 7 and Sunflower, she would weave 7″ of Sunflower! Before she started weaving she also decided to have Black bands on each end of the rug to tie it all together. This was the result…

 

The start of the first section of black

The start of the first section of black

 

The first color... Sunflower!

The first color… Sunflower!

 

The container of snippets and numbers

The container of snippets and numbers

 

Vicky taking her first large rug off the loom!

Vicky taking her first large rug off the loom!

 

A sneak-peek before Vicky unrolls it off of the loom

A sneak-peek before Vicky unrolls it off of the loom

 

Success! Vicky, Joe and Elsi holding up her beautiful striped rug...

Success! Vicky, Joe and Elsi holding up her beautiful striped rug…

 

How Vicky's beautiful random striped rug will look on the floor...

How Vicky’s beautiful random striped rug will look on the floor…

 


Here are two beautiful tapestries from Rachel’s Interweave Series. Both are woven of natural handspun Churro wool. Notice the fine strip of black (in Interweave White) and white (in Interweave Black) separating the the sections of the design. Enjoy!

Interweave, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Handspun natural wool, SIZE, DATE

Interweave White, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, all natural handspun Churro wool,
72″ x 20″, 1984

Interweave Shadow, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Handspun natural wool, SIZE, DATE

Interweave Black, Original Tapestry by Rachel Brown, all natural handspun churro wool, 72″ x 20″, 1984

 


This post is a few days late because we had a Tapestry Class last week that ended up being extended on through the weekend and and on into this week (more on this to come)! One of our students was going through the prints we have of Rachel’s work and came across Neptune. The beauty of this piece became a topic of conversation during the class. Thought it would be a good one to share. Enjoy!

Neptune, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 46″x36.5″, 1998

Neptune, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 46″x36.5″, 1998

 


“For this weaving, I started out with a geometric form design and planned to do the whole weaving in a symmetrical way were the top half was the same as the bottom half. But I got a little past one-third of the weaving and realized it was going to be too busy, so I decided to interrupt the design with horizontals. This was the first of my weaving’s were I interrupted the design with horizontals.” -Rachel Brown

Interrupted Symmetry, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 76.5"x41", 1991

Interrupted Symmetry, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 76.5″x41″, 1991

 

Detail of Interrupted Symmetry, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown

Detail of Interrupted Symmetry, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown


Happy Sunday! Today I am going to share with you part of my Grandma Rachel’s Manta Series.

Blue Lightening, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 39"x40", 2000

Blue Lightening, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 39″x40″, 2000

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”.

Tango in Red, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 40"x40", 2001

Tango in Red, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 40″x40″, 2001

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.

Amazing Marigold, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 40"x40", 2001

Amazing Marigold, Handwoven Tapestry by Rachel Brown, Hand-dyed Wool, 40″x40″, 2001

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.

Rachel Brown and Her Family during the Opening of Rachel Brown: A Retrospective

Rachel Brown and Her Family during the Opening of Rachel Brown: A Retrospective

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.

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

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!

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

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.

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

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…

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

Tapestries of Rachel Brown

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!


We just received a huge shipment of our beautiful, custom spun Rug Yarn! And we are so excited to get to the dyepots again!

Our Beautiful Dye Studio in Arroyo Seco, NM

Our Beautiful Dye Studio in Arroyo Seco, NM

We use a method of dyeing developed by Rachel Brown, founder of Weaving Southwest/Rio Grande Weavers Supply, that is unique and very environmentally conscious. We call it the “sequential” method of dyeing. Since with acid dyes the water is clear when the dyeing is complete, the same hot acidic water can be used over and over again, saving on water, fuel and acid.

First in the pots are some of our lighter colors: Straw, Wheat, Ivory and Beige.

Straw Rug Yarn being stirred in our large outdoor pots.

Straw Rug Yarn being stirred in our large outdoor pots.

Once they are out of the pots we hang them to dry in the warm New Mexico sun.

Straw and Ivory Rug Yarn drying in the sun.

Straw and Ivory Rug Yarn drying in the sun.

Then on to slightly darker colors: El Topo, Pewter, Walnut and Oak.

Taking a look at the Oak Rug Yarn to see if all the color has set.

Taking a look at the Oak Rug Yarn to see if all the color has set.

We are so grateful for the New Mexico monsoon season!

Checking the Ivory Rug Yarn in the monsoonal rains.

Checking the Ivory Rug Yarn in the monsoonal rains.

Because of all of the rains these last couple weeks, we are able to use our large wood burning pots.

A freshly stoked fire under our largest dye pot.

A freshly stoked fire under our largest dye pot.

This allows us to easily dye our darker colors like Pumpkin.

Pumpkin Rug Yarn in our large wood burning pot.

Pumpkin Rug Yarn in our large wood burning pot.

We have several hundred pounds of yarn to dye, so we will be at it for several weeks! We are also going to be dyeing some of our 2-Ply Tapestry Yarn and a new yarn that we just LOVE (and can’t wait to share)!