Speakers: Eugene David Vigil and Rose A. B. Vigil.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Eugene David Vigil
Since I was born and raised in the Chimayo Valley, I have always had an interest for the traditions of the area. My goal is to preserve and promote all aspects of Hispanic weavings, from the most traditional to the contemporary. As my ancestors came to Chimayo Valley in the 1700’s they faced many different hardships and the only reason they survived the hardships is because they worked as a family unit. Without the family members working in unity, the job of the other one would not be completed. The same holds true today. Without my wife, Rose, my textiles could not be completed. She is the foundation of the traditional textiles I weave, by washing, carding, spinning and dyeing the wool. It is after her job is completed thus I can then begin to weave the textiles on a loom both of us have built together.
The feel of the hand spun yarn is of a rustic land. The color from the plants which surrounds us in Northern New Mexico comes from local vegetation picked by our hands. We create the dye by extracting the natural pigmentation from the plants we gathered during our field trips. The design is of my culture, with simple stripes, twills, serrated diamonds, block design, hourglass, chispas, and seamed textiles.
It is all of these elements that create a Rio Grande/Chimayo textile. As a weaver, I try to incorporate these elements into a contemporary flair. As a seventh-generation weaver, I am proud to keep and pass on to future generations the Spanish tradition of weaving.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Rose A. B. Vigil
Little did I know my marriage to Eugene would lead to a love of Spanish traditional textiles, I began my study in 1989 with a course taught by Kristina Wilson and Rachel Brown at the Taos Institute of Art, and about a year later, started my Associates of Applied Science in Fiber Arts at Northern New Mexico Community College as a part-time student. I graduated in May 1995. In our work together, my husband and I are fulfilling a dream we both have had of keeping our traditions alive and passing our culture to our weaving community. We do this through our joint efforts in completing our weaving. I have always had a fascination with the structure of weaving, in which it takes many interlocking threads, all perfectly tensioned, to form a beautiful textile. I find this true in life itself, it takes everything working in union to form a finished product, be it a person or a thing. I feel our traditional work leads to our culture, and this helps us find our identity in society. By learning how our ancestors worked many years ago, we implement our work, keep their traditions alive, and become culture bearers. This, in turn, helps us understand our origins and ourselves.
The early generations of weavers from Chimayo were mainly men. The women of the village cleaned, spun, and dyed the fiber. The men could not weave until the women had spun enough wool for them. This made the art of weaving a very close family affair. Eugene and I capture the sense of family working together in our work.
This collaboration also supports our artistic strengths. Like our ancestors before us, the craft of weaving is ours from beginning to end.