Prototypical Chimayo

The  “Prototypical Chimayo” represents the type of weaving seen in New Mexico during the initial years of the Chimayo weaving industry, which was roughly 1895 to 1905. Irvin’s Grandmother and Grandfather, Francisquita and Isidoro Trujillo, wove this type of design for Santa Fe dealers who sold Chimayo Blankets.  Jake Gold, who owned Gold’s Free Museum and Old Curiosity Shop in Santa Fe, was the first to term the weavings from Chimayo “Chimayo Indian Blankets”. The weavers from Chimayo were not Indian at all, but Hispanic families who had been weaving for many generations on Spanish floor looms.  Jake Gold, and later on, Jesus “Sito” Candelario, would sell commercial yarn from Eastern United States to a family representative who would take the yarn by wagon to distribute the yarn to family weavers in Chimayo. At the end of the month the family member would load the completed weavings in the wagon and take the pieces to the dealer and get paid cash for their work.  Goods like coffee, sugar, salt, and other  necessities could then be purchased and taken back to Chimayo for the family.

Typical Chimayo blankets were woven with the commercial 4 ply red wool for the background and black and white wool for the design colors. Many original blankets had “candlestick” shapes spaced every couple of inches to simulate a side border. The interior designs were small chevron shapes and almost all of the original Chimayo Blankets had a striped borders close to the top and bottom of the weaving.  It is easy to see this design as an intermediary between Rio Grande Saltillos and the later formulation of Chimayo design.

Both of us learned to weave the later version of Chimayo weavings rather than these “prototypical” ones.  We came to try these out after many years of weaving.  It requires a completely different mindset that took some time to embrace.  But now that I have done several of these, I have come to really enjoy their unique rhythm and pace.

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