Cathy Viele

Cathy Viele

Working in my home studio in the pinyon-juniper forest north of Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, I create colorful rugs and tapestries made of local churro wool which I hand-dye myself using both natural and chemical dyes. I have been weaving since the fall of 1996, when I started in the Fiber Arts Program at the Northern New Mexico Community College in El Rito, New Mexico. I also learned a great deal as a contract weaver for Irvin and Lisa Trujillo at Centinela Traditional Arts. I currently work a couple days a week in the shop at Centinela. Originally from western New York and Maine, I have lived in the Southwest, northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, for twenty years. I come to weaving from a varied background, having been over the years a writer, park ranger, archaeological assistant, technical researcher, bookseller, photographer, solar energy advocate, and a few other things in between. All these experiences inform my weaving, as do my explorations of the outdoors as hiker, river-runner and beach walker. I do feel that in discovering weaving, I have in some way come home. My on-going exploration of both technique and vision draw me to an ever-changing combination of natural, abstract and geometric forms. The investigation of color is also imporant - hours spent in the dye studio experimenting with shades and hues are as rewarding to me as those actually spent weaving. More and more I find myself allowing the colors to call forth a piece's design. I enjoy the interplay of planning and serendipity inherent to the creation of a rug or tapestry, as well as the gradual unfolding of the woven piece on my loom. There is no question that weaving keeps me sane! Though influenced by native weaving traditions, especially Rio Grande and Navaho traditions of the Southwest, I am not a traditional weaver. I am continually in the process of evolving my own unique style. From my background in anthropology and comparative religions, I bring a fascination with the study of how cultures over the centuries have expressed their most profound ideas in visual form. And, like many Southwestern artists, I also absorb deep inspiration from the ever-abiding landscape here, its creatures and hardy plant life.