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June 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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Photo Courtesy of History Colorado Tiva Trujillo, The San Luis Valley, 1979. This map of the San Luis Valley, is a fine example of colcha embroidery and is displayed in the San Luis Valley Colcha Embroidery Exhibit at The Range, 307 4th Street, in downtown Saguache, Colorado, until June 19, 2022.

San Luis Valley Colcha Embroidery Exhibit

From The Range gallery, Saguache, Colorado

Colcha embroidery is practiced in the San Luis Valley as a traditional art informed by Spanish Colonial culture with Indigenous and Anglo-American influences. Colcha embroidery artworks from the region often illustrate personal histories and local landscapes, capturing complex memories of the Valley.

Periodic efforts to pass on the tradition through workshops and sewing circles have created a dynamic conversation around colcha embroidery in southern Colorado, with influential connections to communities in northern New Mexico, where colcha embroidery originated in the early 19th century.
The colcha embroidery technique employs a single needle and thread, laying long stitches secured to cloth with tacking stitches. The term colcha refers to the Spanish word for bed covering. It is common to cover the entire surface of the fabric with embroidery, per the San Luis Valley style.

Many contemporary San Luis Valley colcha embroidery artists respond to changing technologies and cultural trends, integrating available materials that embody the textures of their era. Some artists in the exhibition use hand-woven sabanilla cloths and plant-dyed thread made from Navajo Churro sheep wool, long used to create textiles in the region.

During the exhibition, free colcha embroidery workshops are being offered at The Range in Saguache, at the Alamosa Public Library, and at Sierra Grande School in Fort Garland. For more information about the exhibit and for the schedule of workshops, please contact info@therangeontheinternet.com or call (646) 734-1373. https://therangeontheinternet.com/slvce.html