The Colcha Tapestries of Villanueva, NM

Villanueva colcha- Enjarando la Iglesia
Large panel:  Enjaranado La Iglesia/Stuccoing the Church

Villanueva colcha - Spanish Fortification
Large panel:  Spanish Fortification

We recenty drove out to Villanueva, NM, a small village on the banks of the Pecos river.  It is beautiful there and you should check out the Villanueva State Park.   I have known about the colcha tapestries in their church for years but never made it there to see them.  Recently events have reminded me about them:  I took a colcha class and our neighbor went to see them and raved about them.  (What is colcha? ...more )

The embroidered tapestries are housed in the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe/Our Lady of Guadalupe church and wrap around the entire inner wall of the church. You first see them lining the main walls and then realize they are behind the altar and up the stairs to the choir loft.  Every wall is covered. In all there are 41 tapestry panels, all framed in cholla cactus branches.  The panels measure 265 feet in total.  Most of the tapestry panels are 21" high, except for those near the choir loft which are 13" high. The panels were created by 36 local women and completed in 1976 for the Bicentennial Celebration. 

Ladies at table- Villanueva colcha detail
detail-- love the variety of stitches used!

Devil -- Villanueva colcha detail
detail: anatomy is hard- this is impressive!  

If you go:  
Tours can be scheduled by calling the rectory, (575) 421-2548.  
I donated a small amount toward the maintenance of the tapestries (which was much appreciated).

Some recent work on colcha: 
NM Colcha Club.  Nancy Benson.  Museum of NM Press. 2008.
Stitching Rites. Suzanne MacAuley. Univ. of AZ Press. 2000.

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