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Beatrice Maestas Sandoval Featured in Fiber Arts Tour

Friday, August 29, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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A colorful bird glides across a colcha embroidery by Beatrice Maestas Sandoval.Las Vegas, NM native Beatrice Maestas Sandoval remembers hearing about her great-grandmother, a weaver. "Somehow, I always had her in the back of my mind.” When her children were grown, Sandoval dove into learning Spanish colonial traditional arts—spinning, dyeing, weaving, colcha embroidery, woodworking, and tin work. At El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, a living history museum south of Santa Fe, she learned traditional techniques for fiber arts, which she and other volunteers demonstrate for visitors in the summer. Not one for shortcuts, she spins and dyes her own yarn for weaving Rio Grande rugs, as well as for the canvas, or sabanilla, on which she stitches traditional colcha embroidery. "Once you get used to your own homespun, you can’t go back.”

An active participant in Santa Fe’s Traditional Spanish Market, she has taken Best of Show for her colcha embroidery, setting new standards that require all prizewinning colcha to be stitched on hand woven sabanilla. Her embroidery yarn is likewise her own, colored with natural dyes—indigo, cohineal, flowers, Navajo tea, even avocado pits and skins!

Sandoval has helped keep her art form alive through New Mexico Arts’ Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program as a Master Artist. "They’re good traditions,” she says. "We need to learn from our ancestors. And we’ve got to teach these kids, so it won’t get lost.”

Bio courtesy of New Mexico Arts, The New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails

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