Taos’ famous weaver, Rachel Brown, died Jan. 31 at the age of 85, but her legacy to Taos and the weaving world lives on.
A resident of Arroyo Seco since 1956, Rachel Brown was one of the most well-known artists, both locally and nationally, for her life’s work creating and promoting weaving and textile arts.
Founder of Southwest Weaving of Taos, Brown was indefatigable in mounting exhibits of her own and fellow weavers’ incredible woven imagery, tapestry imagery that rivals realistic and abstract painting, and greatly departing from historically typical blanket designs.
Her seminal book, “The Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Book,” (Alfred Knopf, NYC) is now in its 11th printing. The book has 435 illustrations and is considered the most comprehensive publication ever produced about weaving — explaining everything anyone could possibly need to know about spinning, weaving and dyeing. One online customer described it as “The closest thing I’ve found to a textile lover’s Bible!”
According to an obituary by Bruce Brown, Rachel Brown was educated at Radcliffe College, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Art Students League and at Cooper Union in New York.
An inveterate fiber lover, researcher and designer, she taught weaving throughout the U.S. and was cofounder of the Craft House in Arroyo Seco in the ’60s. In the 1970s and ’80s she taught weaving at Tierra Wools in Los Ojos, N.M., and at Ramah Navajo Weavers Association in Pine Hill, N.M. She became Head Teacher of textiles and weaving at the Taos Institute of Art.
In 1993, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.
Brown is survived by daughter Lorelei (Keith Loveless); her two sons, Seth and Kinlock Brown (Weiping); four grandchildren Teresa Loveless (married to Joe Barry and pregnant with the first great-grandchild), Tyler Loveless, and Meili and Kaili Brown — all of Taos and Arroyo Seco.
A memorial, open to all will be held in May on a date to be announced. Donations in lieu of flowers are requested for a memorial fund and contact is Teresa Loveless, (575) 779-0655.