Eppie Archuleta was recognized globally for preserving the ancient folk art of weaving with the loom in the southwestern Hispanic style. Her works blend Spanish colonial with Chimayo Indian designs, adorning rugs, tapestries and serapes. She used traditional techniques to wash raw wool in giant tubs of water heated over a wood fire, and then she dyed and spun it into yarn using natural cota, aspen, juniper, and other barks, weeds and herbs.
Archuleta was a fourth-generation master weaver and textile artisan, who carried on a tradition that dates to the mid-1600s. She described weaving as a part of her soul that must be passed on to future generations. She taught all of her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and many others the skill of weaving. After World War II, Archuleta and her husband Frank moved from New Mexico to the San Luis Valley. They raised 10 children (eight of whom lived to adulthood), while she worked the fields by day and weaved at night.
In 1989, Archuleta purchased a wool mill in La Jara, which she opened as the San Luis Valley Wool Mill. She worked to make her mill a fully operational employer and contributor to the San Luis Valley’s struggling economy. She also created a school to teach children and adults how to produce rare folk art.
During her lifetime, Archuleta received many awards and honors. Her work earned a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1985—the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Archuleta was profiled in a January 1991 article in National Geographic. One of her tapestries was installed at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1993, and the Spanish Market of Santa Fe honored her with the master’s award for lifetime achievement in 2001. Archuleta’s works are exhibited throughout the world.
Books about or authored by Eppie Archuleta
Eppie Archuleta and the Tale of Juan De La Burra
Chispas! Cultural Warriors of New Mexico
Time and Place: One Hundred Years of Women Artists in Colorado, 1900 – 2000