The spring of 2023 is the most green one I can remember here in Chimayo. We have had an abundance of gentle rain.
As long as I can remember, spring is a very dry season here. We don't have a steady, reliable progression from winter to summer. Early spring is often windy. We have frosts that kill fruit blossoms in our orchard. Thus we have very small apricot harvests, but usually have pears and apples in abundance because those trees have the good sense to wait till later in the season to bloom. When it comes to May and June, we have experienced a series of horrible destructive wildfires over the years. So we have faced the smoke, and ash, and fear, of these destructive forces as forest and homes are destroyed. And we have always been safe. At least so far. The spring of 2022 saw the biggest of these wildfires New Mexico has seen, just over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from us. All of us on this side of the mountains watched in horror as the fire destroyed more and more acres and lives. We couldn't ever be certain it was going to stay away from our home. It just didn't seem possible to control the flames.
I started in on my annual big, complicated, and time consuming, project in January. I committed to using a lot of my handspun skeins that had collected over the years. There were a lot of colors that I only had one or two skeins of. This provided a challenge, because I really didn't want to run out of these yarns I couldn't easily match. I habitually divide the yarn I have at the beginning of the piece into two groups, and put aside yarn for the second half. Still, the design would have to accommodate my yarn limitations.
I did some rough sketches. One for a border design, and another for a background. Once I got started I pretty much abandoned the idea for a background design, but I was really enamored of the elements of the border design. As the piece developed, I committed to those elements, and all the multitude of possible variants that were possible.
I worked my way slowly through the first half, learning the logic, and managing the many spools that were in operation. I counted them. Most of the time there were roughly 40 to 50 spools, but there were times when there were only half that many on the loom. The second half was far easier, mostly because I had truly learned how the designs work. This is always true for me on these complex pieces. There is a deep and satisfying learning process that I have to go through.
I kept coming back to the fact that I had no title for this piece. I could see that the colors I was weaving were emerging on the landscape. Variants of greens popped out of the warm colors of our hills and the browns of the enriched soil of my garden. The sky would pop with its gorgeous blues. Flowers bloomed in the orchard and in my garden over time...peaches, pinks, and lavender.
So when it was completely woven, taken off of the loom and washed and shaved, I had to commit to its name. It took me a while to put words to this amazing time where my weaving seemed to manifest in my bigger world. My conversations with others helped me put this all into words. I'm grateful for their guiding my thoughts.