Blanket weaving has been a treasured Chimayo tradition for over four centuries. The practice has been perfected and passed down from generation to generation, and the unique patterns created by the weavers have been recognized all over the world. In fact, they’ve become so popular that visitors from all over flock to Chimayo to obtain beautifully woven blankets, rugs, pillows, and more for themselves. Here is everything you need to know about the history of Chimayo weavers and where you can find them during your stay in our Chimayo bed & breakfast.
Appreciating the art of Chimayo weavers is only one of the many unique things to do in our area. By requesting your free copy of our Vacation Guide, you’ll instantly receive a full list of the best things to see, do, and experience during your stay with us including local hiking trails, shopping, dining, and more. It’s the only thing you’ll need to plan the ultimate vacation in Northern New Mexico.
History of Chimayo Weavers
In 1540, nearly 5,000 churro sheep accompanied Coronado and his men during his famous expedition. These sheep were valued more for their wool than as food, so the Chimayo settlers used them as their flocks when they reached New Mexico. In 1840, blankets were in high demand from nearby trading partners. Records reveal that tens of thousands of wool blankets were shipped from New Mexico. The Rio Grande blanket had been born, and it earned many Chimayo weavers well-deserved recognition and respect for their creativity.
Sadly, this fame was ultimately short-lived. After 40 years of booming success, the mill-woven blanket industry posed a major threat to many Chimayo weavers. New breeds of sheep with inferior wool and negative changes to lumber looms also made the blankets plummet in value. Eventually, the weavers and their creations fell off the map. Nonetheless, they continued their weaving efforts to make blankets for their families and friends! In the early 1900s, weavers from Santa Fe started a new blanket style that consisted of two simple stripes and a center design. This became known as the “Chimayo Design,” and it began a brand new industry for the weavers.
Chimayo Weaving Designs
There are ten traditional weaving designs that are still used by Chimayo weavers today. Each design boasts a unique personality with a variety of colors, patterns, and shapes. While it’s impossible to choose the best one, these are just a few of the most popular choices.
The Chimayo style is probably the most widely recognized of them all. Despite its raging popularity, the layout is fairly simple, consisting of only two stripes and a center design. The stripes are clearly inspired by this style’s predecessor, The Rio Grande blanket, and the center design derives from Saltillo tapestry techniques.
The Rio Grande style is what started them all! For over 400 years, Chimayo weavers have mastered this weft-faced design. Before the industrial revolution, these blankets were in high demand and made on a European floor loom.
Modern Style blankets never have one particular design, so this is the style through which weavers can be their most creative. You will find a variety of shapes, colors, and patterns directly from the imagination. Although each one is different, many weavers seem to use red, black, and white yarns when freestyling.
Where to Find Chimayo Weavers
The weavers you’ll meet today come from many different walks of life. While some have come from a long family line of talented weavers, others learned the craft when they were very young or picked it up the hobby later in life. Although each weaver is unique, they all share one thing in common, their passion. They use weaving as a form of personal expression, so each artist brings their own unique style to the table while honoring the valued traditions of Chimayo weavers. If you wish to see their works of art or even want to take a piece home with you, these are the places to find vintage Chimayo weaving.
Centinela Traditional Arts
The Centinela Traditional Arts is a Chimayo weaving gallery that houses a wide variety of traditional tapestries and vintage Chimayo rugs while offering the opportunity to purchase your favorites. They come in many different patterns, colors, designs, and sizes ranging from 15×30 to 54×84. You’ll be sure to find the perfect one to accent your home or just keep you warm.
For a more personalized option, Ortega’s Weaving Shop creates one-of-a-kind patterns with your color choice in mind! The best part is, you can decide whether you want your design on a coat, blanket, rug, or accessory!
Trujillo’s Weaving Shed
This family-owned business is a manufacturer of handwoven Spanish Colonial textile products. During your visit to Trujillo’s Weaving Shed, you’ll be able to see beautifully woven pieces of art as well as Santa Clara Pueblo Indian pottery and jewelry.
Immerse in Chimayo’s Rich History During Your Stay at Casa Escondida
Aside from a rich history of Chimayo weavers, these cities are full of stories and traditions just begging to be discovered. We invite you to experience it all at Casa Escondida! Our lovely bed and breakfast is nestled on six peaceful acres of land in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains. The charming guest rooms boast an authentic ambiance with the amenities you desire in a comfortable and memorable vacation. Plus, guests will enjoy convenience to northern New Mexico destinations like Santa Fe, Taos, and Jemez Springs! What more could you need for the getaway of a lifetime?
Book your next vacation to Casa Escondida today! We look forward to welcoming you soon.