Santa Fe Local’s View: A weekend of Yarn, Textiles, Jewelry and Fun

Santa Fe’s blue skies broaden with the longer days in May, beckoning the season of festivals and outdoor events.  This weekend heralds two such events:  El Rancho de las Golindrinas’ Fiber Arts Festival and Native Treasures: Indian Arts Festival.

For years I have been making the scenic drive out to El Rancho de las Golindrinas on select weekends to experience the rolling landscape and unique events like the yearly Renaissance Fair and Battlefield New Mexico: The Civil War and More.  Though not in the downtown area, the ranch represents a true sense of New Mexico; 200 tree filled acres basking in the bright Santa Fe sky, the colonial buildings dating from the 1700’s, the varied landscape from livestock fields to the gargling brook, the sheep, goats, chickens, burros; a collection of authentic Hornos (traditional outdoor adobe ovens), a blacksmith shop, the Penitent meeting house, and Mill pond come together with dozens of other features to paint a true picture of rural New Mexican life from years gone by. The museum, dedicated to the history, heritage and culture of 18th and 19th century New Mexico, opened in 1972.  Because of its acreage and layout, Las Golondrinas provides a wonderful backdrop for fun and educational events throughout the summer for the whole family.  

To that end, the ranch hosts the Santa Fe Fiber Arts Festival-created to showcase the traditional textile techniques in New Mexico this coming weekend, Saturday, May 25th and Sunday the 26th.   In researching this event, I learned that before the colonization of New Mexico by the Spanish starting in 1598, native people wove primarily with cotton, as sheep did not exist in the New World. Churro sheep were sent to the colonies because they were considered to be of lower quality than merinos and other breeds.  As it turned out, churros were very well adapted to the climate of New Mexico, and their long, low-lanolin wool worked extremely well for the dyeing and weaving techniques of the natives, then learned by the settlers, and hence we have some of the most beautiful wool textiles in the world coming out of our region.

In the spirit of that history, the ranch boasts a “sheep to blanket” program. They have a flock of churro sheep that they care for and shear every spring. A large group of volunteers then washes, cards, spins and dyes the wool in traditional ways, and weave the final product into the blankets displayed in the buildings.

For a downtown cultural experience, visit the Santa Fe Community Convention Center (SFCCC) Saturday and Sunday to see Native Treasures: Indian Arts Festival–featuring museum quality Indian art including jewelry, sculpture, pottery, bead work, and basketry and more.  This collection stems from over 200 artists representing a wide range of tribes and pueblos-Kiowa, Taos, Hopi, Kew (Santa Domingo), Acoma, and Santa Clara, just to name a few. This unique show is Saturday from 9a-4p with varied ticket prices while Sunday is general admission and is free to all from 10a-4p.  The proceeds help benefit the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture via a portion of sales being donated from the artists themselves.

For a more intimate experience with Native Treasures, attend the Friday Night Party.  From 5:30-7:30 at the SFCCC, the event allows you to mingle with the artists, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and an open wine and champagne bar. Last year’s Living Treasure, Tammy Garcia will be there to honor the incoming living Treasures, Joe and Althea Cajero with a special piece of art. Tickets are $100, and include admittance to the Early Bird showing Saturday morning.

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is located on Museum Hill, just a short drive from the Inn.  Open year round (closed on Mondays), the museum is dedicated to exhibiting native art and material culture that tells the story of people in the southwest from pre-history through contemporary art.  With its changing exhibits, public lecture series, artists in residents, and education programs, the museum helps keep the knowledge and spirit of Southwestern Indian culture present with us today. I encourage you to read our earlier blog on some of the new exhibits at the museum.

What a rich cultural weekend in Santa Fe!  American Indian Art from around the State shown right downtown combined with traditional textile techniques of New Mexico on an authentic ranch weave the perfect way to experience a True New Mexico.

As always, I look forward to seeing you at the Inn! SamG of the IOG