As a fiber producer and somewhat textile artist since forever, I’ve always wanted to attend the Taos Wool and Fiber Festival. As fate would have it, we found ourselves in Santa Fe just two days before the festival. So what would any self proclaimed textile lover, fiber spinning, yarn knitting junkie do? Head back up to Taos of course. My dear husband is so accommodating…
The festival was glorious, relaxed, and fun. Dogs were allowed to attend, which is somewhat rare for art shows, so Pia was happy, and we stayed a very long time. They even had a knitted dog sweater contest and fashion show, which I managed to miss while I was busy oohing and aahing and touching and swooning over textures and colors.
And I caved. My whole not buying stuff just flew out the window, and it seemed that for every one little bit of yarn or fleece that I purchased, there was something else that needed to go with it.
Bison yarn, Mohair solar dyed painted rovings, and natural plant dyed CMV rovings were just a few goodies I came away with, and a hand spindle, since I didn’t bring my spinning wheel along on this trip.
After the fair, we went and hibernated for a few days again along the Rio Grand Gorge wild river area and relaxed. I spent two marvelous days, spindling ( actually trying to remember how to spindle) and knitting, all the while watching birds out the van door.
Leaving the gorge, we went on a bit of a fiber tour…first to Arroyo Secco and the Southwest Weaving Center, which was founded by Rachael Brown, the iconic weaver and dyer who started somewhat of a fiber renaissance back in the 80’s with her “Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing” book. Rachael’s granddaughter and her husband now run the business, and teach classes in the shop. This trip for me was like taking a pilgrimage.
We deviated from the fiber briefly to check out some Earthship Biotecture – some very green building architecture. We had to keep Fred happy too!
We toured the visitor center, and nosed around some, oohed and aahed some more over these different types of textures and compositions. These houses are built completely from recycled materials, mostly old used car tires, and many many glass bottles, and are completely sustainable systems when finished.
Do check out their website! Earthship.com
These houses can actually be rented out for overnight stays, which would be fun to do sometime. They are also for sale!
After driving through mountains of more glorious yellow Aspens, we wound up in Mora, at the Mora Valley Spinning Mill, once known as Tapetes de Lana, where we took a private tour of the mill. After many years of processing fiber on a small scale (very labor intensive I might add) it was amazing to see the efficiency of this processing machinery as well as the art and love of the people who operate the mill. This mill has also totally rejuvenated an economically devasted community. So grateful for the time those folks took showing us around, I had to buy more yarn. This time I bought mostly Churro weaving yarns, Churro being the local sheep breed raised around these parts for fine weaving yarns. If I make purchases, I always try to find the most local of resources that I can. It’s great for memories and I also feel like it is wonderful to support the local economy of the communities that have made our trip so memorable.
If fiber is not your thing, you might want to skip this gallery. It would take a lot more than this post to explain all the processes involved. Just think of it as a mini “Sheep to Product” journey.
If all that wasn’t enough, we then drove through the little famous weaving town of Chimayo and stopped in at Centinela Chimayo Weavers, where world renown weavers Ivan and Lisa Trujillo have a studio and gallery. Not only were these the most exquisitely beautiful woven rugs I’ve ever seen, but the huge looms they worked on were amazing. Ivan and Lisa were actually out of town, but Cathy was so gracious, showing us all around, and answering a multitude of questions. Having her explain the history of the family, culture and weaving techniques was like an intense workshop all in a nutshell.
Each day, we fall more and more in love with this central New Mexico area. The history here, the cultural diversity, the arts, the beauty, the heritage is all just so mind boggling.
The links below will lead to fascinating explorations into worlds of Fiber, Green technology, Cultural Weaving and Cooperative Art and Business achievements.
Enjoy the journey. We sure have.