SchoolArts Room

Tres Culturas: Visiting Centinela Traditional Arts in Chimayo

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Jan 12, 2016

One of the places we will visit on our SchoolArts/CRIZMAC Tres Culturas: Exploring the Artistic Spirit of Santa Fe and Taos iCentinela Traditional Arts in the historic Hispanic village of Chimayo, New Mexico. Master weavers Irvin and Lisa Trujillo are well known for their museum quality, ground breaking weavings.

Their weavings have received many awards, are found in many museum collections, and they consistently win major awards at Spanish Market in Santa Fe. 

From the Centinela Traditional Arts website in Irvin Trujillo's words:
"As a seventh-generation Rio Grande weaver living in Chimayo, New Mexico, my work has evolved from the traditional styles of my forefathers. I use design ideas from historic Rio Grande weavings of Northern New Mexico and add my own aesthetic by combining old ideas with my own vision. My pieces may interpret my Hispanic history and culture, document events of the modern world, or make observations based on what is happening in my life. Most of my weavings develop spontaneously, as my father taught me. Executing an idea means discovering and overcoming the limitations imposed by traditional techniques and looms, and adopting, or perhaps changing, solutions as the weaving progresses. The binary logic of weaving makes the creative process and the execution of ideas inseparable. Not knowing the final outcome makes each weaving a journey."

Also from Centinela's website:
"Lisa was born in San Diego, California. She attended schools in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California and Los Alamos, New Mexico. One week after graduating from the University of New Mexico with a degree in marketing, Lisa Rockwood married Irvin Trujillo and started her weaving career. Although Lisa had always been artistically inclined, she had never woven before meeting Irvin. She proved an apt pupil. She started by weaving small pieces and early on began challenging herself with more and more complex designs. She began dying yarn with natural dyes when she started weaving, and started spinning a couple of years later. As she continued to weave more complex pieces she would try weaving finer and larger pieces in the Saltillo style, using her own handspun and natural dyed yarns. Each of these projects took about a year to complete. Her other weavings allow her to pursue other ideas, and to work in other traditional styles.
Lisa's designs are generally within the guidelines of traditional Rio Grande weaving. While she has great respect for the Rio Grande Spanish tradition, she was not born into the culture and tradition. Therefore, she brings her own non-Hispanic background to her weaving. Since it is impossible to keep from expressing herself in her weaving, the results keep changing as time passes. Lisa's time at the loom is limited by her other responsibilities. She considers it precious time, and healing too."

"Spider from Mars"


From the Centinela Weavers Facebook page:
"Even as weavers, Irvin & Lisa Trujillo have drawn inspiration from David Bowie's amazing creative body of work. This is "Spider From Mars," which Irvin wove in 1990. (It was acquired by the Smithsonian Museum.) Lisa thinks that David Bowie was the epitome of a Rock 'n Roll star, and even more, the epitome of a creative soul whose creative expressions really affected us all. "
Irvin demonstrating
On our last visit, Irvin talked to our group, explaining the different kinds of weavings and processes and demonstrated working on the loom.
We look forward to visiting this wonderful place again this coming summer. This is only one event on one day: we'll be visiting other places in Chimayo that day as well. Everyone is welcome to join us; you do not need to be an art teacher or a teacher. Family and friends can certainly come. To learn more about the other features of Tres Culturas or to register, click here.