Santa Fe: Colcha embroidery

Hello everybody! Sorry about the short break – I came down with a dreadful cold, had lots of work, then needed to travel to present at a conference, so writing posts just didn’t happen. I suppose I should mention I’m only a few months from finishing my PhD in applied math, so there will occasionally be short posting breaks when I run out of energy 🙂 Don’t worry, I have plenty more ideas! The blog will continue!

Anyway, this conference took me in Santa Fe, land of the colcha embroiderers! In fact, I had an absolutely lovely dinner with the wonderful Julia Gomez (mentioned in previous posts Colcha embroidery, The Garden of Swallows). What fun! It was so nice to meet her! She brought some of her work-in-progress and I brought some of mine, and we had a fantastic chat. You should watch her new video where she talks about colcha embroidery, it’s great:

She also gave me a piece of sabanilla, which is the traditional wool fabric for colcha embroidery. So I need to figure out a design and pick out some wool thread to try it out!

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13 Responses to Santa Fe: Colcha embroidery

  1. cynthiagilbreth says:

    Applied math! I’m impressed! I started out as a math major but met my personal Waterloo in set theory, so I switched to chemistry. My youngest is getting his PhD in physics and has a BS in math as well as physics. Will you embroider your robes for graduation?

  2. Sharon Brodeuse says:

    Glad you are feeling better – your posts were missed! Congratulations on your forthcoming graduation too. Math was/is definitely not my forte, but I admire those who understand its mysteries.
    Thank you for posting this video of Julia Gomez on Colcha embroidery. It is an excellent introduction to this style. It certainly makes us appreciate the process our ancestors went through to be able to embroider – sheep, shearing, washing, carding, spinning and weaving. It’s a wonder they had the energy left to think about embellishing the cloth with embroidery!

  3. Erica Marsden says:

    All the best for your writing up Hannah. Have never done a PhD but being a librarian in a university, have seen the state people get into during the last month or so…thinking of you. Having said that, one of my sons got married the month before he handed in his master’s thesis, something to do with Quantum Physics…and although he burned much midnight – and later – oil, he never seemed to get stressed. I am sure all of us who follow your blog would rather you neglected us than burned out through trying to do too much. Let us know how you got on when it is all over. Bon chance.

  4. Rachel says:

    I hope the writing up goes well – good to know the end is in sight, and you can look forward to some more time to embroider..

  5. Anita says:

    Applied math….Wow! Looking forward to see your colcha embroidery…..

  6. Elmsley Rose says:

    Great vid! It was fascinating – how it started off as a creative method method, then evolved into a craft in itself. Also, the colcha sheep – it’s wool looks quite different to Merino (what I’m used to seeing here in Australia).
    Nobody will look askance at you if you’re a bit quiet while you finish your Doctorate! Just be majorly impressed that you are such a talented lady! 🙂 🙂

  7. Gwen says:

    Congratulations soon to be Dr. Hannah! I have so enjoyed all of your posts but this technique by far has been the most fasinanting to me. Thanks for taking the time to showcase the video. Julia should be proud to continue her traditions.

  8. Monique says:

    Hannah, you will pass with flying colors. After you have tried sabanilla, give us a report.
    Whenever I use the word traditional sabanilla, there is a voice telling me ” is is truly “traditional”?
    In May 1954, E Boyd (1903-1974), curator of Spanish Colonia Arts for decades, published an article, New Mexican Spanish Textiles, in El Palacio, the journal of NM Enthropology lab.
    ” While not strkling ornamenta, the white homespun woolen used in large sack form as a mattress tick to be stuffed with raw wool, and tied here and there with wool strings to prevent lumping, it is a most attractive fabric which, it is regrettable to note, is no longer made in New Mexico.” Boyd adds, ” in earlier days these ticks, when wearing out, were often patched and used as the support for wool embroideries or ” colchas”.
    Traditional? perhaps? . Till further lack of evidence to the contrary, we have to assume that it is ” traditional” There is a weaver in Northern NM, according to Julia, “raised the bar” and started to weave sabanilla to embroider colcha. I am not a weaver , but I have been told by weavers that it takes skill to weave sabanilla.
    The king of Spain did not permit Merino sheep to leave the country.
    Churro is used for Navajo rugs.
    Julia is very talented and nice person. Thank you for the video.

  9. Monique says:

    I am trying to figure out my new computer, what a chore. Be indulgent. Thank you

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