Colcha embroidery of the San Luis Valley on display in Arvada

Image courtesy of The Range La Sierra, 1999, by Josephine Lobato.

ARVADA —Colcha embroidery from the San Luis Valley is now on display at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities through Nov. 12.

The exhibition will be on view in conjunction with Emilio Lobato: A Mi Manera and Latitude 37°: Art of Southern Colorado. The show will bring together a large selection of artworks on loan from artists, families, and museums across Colorado.

The exhibition is curated by Adrienne Garbini of The Range in Saguache. Colcha embroidery traveled to Colorado from New Mexico, where the women of the San Luis Valley transformed the traditional stitch into a wholly new art form, depicting intricate landscapes and stories important in their lives.

Colcha embroidery is practiced in the Valley as an art informed by 19th century Spanish Colonial culture and shaped by Indigenous and Anglo-American influences, creating a textile unique to Southern Colorado.

This exhibition is in collaboration with The Range, and features works from generations of colcha embroidery artists, contemporary colcha embroidery from the region, and pieces on loan from History Colorado and the Sangre de Cristo Heritage Center.

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 in the historical and the modern San Luis Valley style to fill the entire surface of the fabric with embroidery. The exhibit will include works by living and deceased artists, celebrating the vibrant history of this art practice in communities across the region.

Artists include Mary Baker, Maria Eufemia Barela, Sandy Dolak, Adrienne Garbini, Patsy Garcia, Peggy Garcia Williams, Margie Gurule, Josephine Lobato, Rita Lobato Crespin, Virginia 'Bena' Lovato, Brenda Lovato, Loretta Rose Lujan, Donna Madrid Hernandez, Connie Mamich Morrell, Aurora Martinez, Junita Martinez, Lydia Martinez, Irene Medina, Julia Mondragon, Mary Olivas, Daisy Ortega, Evanea Rae Pacheco, Marcella Pacheco, Marcella Quintana, Nettie Quintana, Virginia Rodriquez, Sostena Sandoval Clevens, Trent Segura, Mary Taylor, Tiva Trujillo, Tina Valdez, Judy Vigil, Mary Vigil de Rodriguez, and Delores Worley.