Monday, April 27, 2009

Award-Winning Weaving in Chimayo, NM

As we pull into the gravel driveway, skeins of freshly dyed yarn drip and dry in the sun. We have just arrived at Centinela Traditional Arts in tiny Chimayo, New Mexico, a local 'industry' that includes 10 cottage and five consignment weavers.

Irvin and Lisa Trujillo opened the business in 1982 and Irvin continued a weaving tradition followed by his family since 1775. He began weaving Chimayo blankets in 1965, following his father, Jacobo's philosphy to make weavings that are one-of-a-kind. Over the years, Centinela Traditional Arts has expanded its inventory to include clothing, rugs, purses, and pillows. But the Trujillos still use natural dyes for their blankets and Irvin dyes all yarn used by 10 weavers.

He also frequently teaches other weavers. Both Lisa and Irvin's work has been shown in and collected by musuems throughout the country and also has gained an international reputation - with clients that have included Ralph Lauren and Japanese customers. And, in 2007, Irvin was named a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow.

As we return to the car, the yarn on the clotheslines has stopped dripping. Before long, each brilliant strand will find its way into the capable hands and artistic creations of a Chimayo weaver.

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