Today I return to the southwest and some of our travels out there. We saw lots of things while traveling back to Ohio in October. Weaving Southwest is one of the places I want to be sure to mention before being done with New Mexico.
I first heard of Weaving Southwest when I was learning about various kinds of looms as part of my research for weaving at Pipe Spring. Rachel Brown started Weaving Southwest in 1980 as a weaver’s supply store. Rachel wrote “The Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book,” considered one of the best guides for weaving. She also developed the Rio Grande Spinning Wheel and Rio Grande Walking Loom. Because yarn for handweaving was unavailable in the 1960’s, Rachel spun, dyed, and sold yarn.
Today Weaving Southwest is owned by Rachel’s granddaughter, Teresa Loveless. Teresa bought the business back in 2008 when she was only 25 years old. The shop, located in Arroyo Seco, northeast of Taos, features tapestries by local artists. It also sells yarn for weaving, hand-dyed in the same method developed by Rachel in the 1960’s.
Weaving Southwest still sells weaving supplies such as shuttles and battens, but they no longer sell the Rio Grande Wheel or Loom. The carpenter that made these beautiful pieces of useful art retired and the family wasn’t able to find anyone else to make them.
When we visited I was a little disappointed in the size and selection of the shop. I expected a larger shop selling wheels, looms, yarn, and lots of woven tapestry art. Instead there were several dozen bins with churro and wool yarns for handweaving. There were a couple of walking looms and one wheel for display, and some tapestries.
The things on display were absolutely gorgeous, especially the blankets. But the yarn selection was very limited. The woman working in the shop told me that the mill that did the carding and spinning had closed and they were having trouble finding another one. The hand-dyed roving was completely sold out and she didn’t know when they would get more.
Such are the problems of running a small business in the modern world. Although the internet helps people who are far away access your store, you still need to have things to sell. It looks like Southwest Weaving is having a difficult time staying supplied. One thing I noticed they sell online is a Navajo loom, which are difficult to find. I bought some churro yarn (tomorrow’s post), more for the novelty than because I have a use in mind.
I was glad we went, however. It was interesting to see the shop and visit the tiny town of Arroyo Seco.