New Mexico weaver to demonstrate during 2008 Autumn@Adams

(09-11-2008)

Oftentimes, it is said, weavers of the Southwest have the art in their blood. There is no better example than Norma Medina, from Mendanales, N.M. "I have always been around a loom, since I was small. It is hereditary," she said.

She will be included in the Adams State College Autumn@Adams Hoe Down from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, on the front lawn of Richardson Hall.

Her heritage comes honestly, her grandmother, Agueda Martinez, and her mother, Eppie Archuleta, have received nationwide acclaim. "I have acquired my own collection of ribbons and awards," Medina said. In 1986, her grandmother, mother, Medina, and her daughter participated in a four-generation art exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute for the Festival of American Folklife. In 1993, Archuleta and Medina were invited to exhibit weaving at the America's Reunion at the Mall for the 52nd Presidential Inaugural Talent Festival at the Smithsonian.

Medina is part of four, living, generations of weavers, including her daughters and grandchildren. "All of my mother's (Archuleta) sisters weave, and they all have different styles," Medina said. "My daughter Kay weaves like me, but Dolores weaves like her great-grandmother."

There is more to weaving than loom work, including dyeing the yarn. "I dye my own yarn," Medina said. She says she is "inspired by nature" to weave pictorial scenes. "I study clouds and hills to understand what makes one look far away and another come close. I use that knowledge for my dye shades."

According to Medina, dyeing yarn takes a lot of patience. "One drop too much and you don't get the color you wanted," she said. "It is a long-shot. I use many different plants to make my dyes. If the season is rainy, you get a different color from the plant than if it was a dry season." She added different seasons also affect the colors. She said although dyeing yarn is a long process, she enjoys the challenge. "It is very interesting."

In 1994, Medina was commissioned to weave the Passion of Christ for a Catholic Church in Greeley, Colo. The project took three years to complete. "I did not think I could do it. I enjoy challenging projects."

Medina said she did not start weaving until her youngest, now in her late thirties, started school. "I wanted to have a job, and weaving came as a natural selection." She says she has no formal training in the arts. "Can you imagine if I took a class and really knew how to do this stuff."

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By Linda Relyea