CHIMAYO, N.M. (KRQE) – Artists in northern New Mexico have teamed up with a major clothing brand to keep a New Mexico tradition alive.
“This is actually a deep-rooted part of New Mexican history, and it’s really not very well known, but it is very important,” said 8th-generation Rio Grand Weaver Emily Trujillo.
Trujillo is trying to revive the tradition passed down from her ancestors. Her family owns a store in Chimayo that sells rugs and other items featuring historic designs. Their work caught the eye of the western clothing brand Ariat, which bought designs from her family’s shop and started a clothing collection.
“They actually asked what they could do in return,” said Trujillo, “They wanted to give back to the community. They know that it’s a dying art form. My mom said what would be the most helpful is training new weavers.”
Trujillo said the big challenge in the industry today is plenty of demand but not enough weavers.
“There’s a huge market for it. There’s a huge industry, but there’s no one who knows how to do it. This program is supposed to be a revival of this art,” said Trujillo.
That’s why Ariat provided a $50,000 grant to train weavers and start breathing new life into the industry. The grant money goes toward paid apprenticeships for 9 students all working under Trujillo to create woven goods.
Trujillo mentioned the community came together in a big way with Española Valley Fiber Arts Center donating space for the class.
Since the program ended on March 3, the students now get the opportunity to work at one of the three galleries in Chimayo that specialize in the art. In return, they will help fill the orders.
“I think it’s very important. We have so many different cultures that are coming together all the time. I think it’s important to keep things that are traditionally New Mexican alive,” said one of the programs students, Amanda Ironside.
Trujillo’s family and Ariat are working on making this a permanent program, enrolling new students each year.