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Visiting museums and archaeological sites in the American Southwest, Louie García finds inspiration to revive the fiber techniques of the past. He has participated in creating several recreations of ancient textiles, including a replica of the 800-year-old Arizona Openwork Shirt, and is a member of the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project, which studies artifacts including baskets, plaited and twined yucca sandals, and most importantly cotton textile fragments that date back as much as two thousand years.
But where others might see ruins, Louie sees connections to the Pueblo heritage that is part of his daily life. When rediscovering weaving, spinning, and cotton-growing skills, he says, “That’s how I’m able to connect with my ancestors.” Navigating between his wish to maintain the role of fiber arts in his community with respect for the sacred nature of traditional knowledge, he founded the New Mexico Pueblo Fiber Arts Guild in in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He teaches classes to Pueblo weavers as well as a few non-Pueblo fiber arts enthusiasts.
His handspun, handwoven gauze and weft-wrap openwork piece, inspired by a nearly 1,000-year-old Hohokam textile in the Ventana Cave excavation, was featured on the cover of Spin Off Summer 2020—one of just a few articles about Pueblo weaving written from a Pueblo perspective, he says. Looking at the piece, Cedar Mesa Perishables Project director Laurie Webster remarked, “It’s probably been at least a thousand years since anyone has woven a piece like this.”
Join us to hear how Louie connects the work of his hands with his dedication to Pueblo heritage. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast platforms.
Openwork Shirt (sprang replica): Carol James, “The Arizona Openwork (Tonto) Shirt Project” (2017). PreColumbian Textile Conference VII / Jornadas de Textiles PreColombinos VII. 25.
Louie García, “Pueblo Cotton in the American Southwest: Ancient Gauze Weave and Weft-Wrap Openwork.” Spin Off Summer 2020.