By Carmen Arteaga
FACC lost one of our dynamic members on May 2, 2020 due to COVID 19. Betty was 90 years old yet sharp as a tack and full of energy. She was very involved and active with our genealogy organization. She was a charter member having joined in 1989.
In photo Betty is in a period costume as she helped present for the Legacy Trunk Project sponsored by FACC. As part of this project, Betty would go out to schools and educate our children and community about our heritage which is a very important undertaking. The Legacy Trunk came about as part of our FACC mission to promote the history and culture of our people.
On her last birthday she gave all of us a lesson on the history of the FRAY AN-GELICO CHAVEZ CHAPTER of the GSHA and the Pueblo Heritage Museum. She truly was a library of information.
We will all miss her tremendously. I hope to be as lively as she was when I reach 90. She was such a joy. May she rest in peace.
CORINNE TAFOYA My heart still hurts knowing that we lost Corinne on May 21, 2020. Corrine was a very close friend to many of us and of course she was a fellow genealogy enthusiast. She had a heart attack and died a couple of days later at Parkview Hospital in Pueblo.
If you would see her on the dance floor, you would never know that she was 88 years old. She loved dancing and making sure that FACC would not forget the old dances like “La Varsoviana.” She was always in the mix when it came to singing out “las mananitas” for someone’s birthday.
Our "Dress As Your Ancestor" event will never be the same without her spirit and energy to get us going. In photo Corinne is in true form. She always helped many members get their period costume in order for the big event.
Corinne organized an FACC trip to Spain one year and was actually working on another with me. Rest in peace Corrine. Although, I know you are probably singing and dancing with the angels in heaven.
by Deborah Martinez Martinez
The labor of grandma’s hands reflects in the utilitarian handiworks of her day—doilies crocheted with thread, yarn table covering, the ubiquitous armchair doilies. Sadly, preservation of these items is often not possible because the idea of conserving such craftwork was second to the need for keeping one’s family warm, clean and com
Quilts, las quiltas, in the slang of southern Colorado and New Mexico, was often the most visible of such works. Such pieced works are often overlooked because they were ordinary, everyday housewares. Of course, the word quiltas in New Mexico is also used for heavy bed coverings of handwoven woolen sheets embroidered with Colcha. Some of those works weigh more than a hundred pounds if heavily embroidered and the value on them is extreme. Go see some of these magnificent art works at El Rancho de las Golondrinas in Santa Fe.
I remember a quilt made by my mother-in-law (may she rest in peace). She lived through the depression and every piece of fabric was reused until it fell apart. The quilt, nicknamed the “Mama Mia,” literally had four to six raggedy old blankets inside of a new, but plain, outside cover tied together with yarn every square foot or so. It was for the winter and kept us warm. We could take it apart to wash and then she’d kindly reassemble the Mama Mia.
My own grandmother sewed quilts, including a double wedding ring quilt, equal to any you would see at the annual Quilters Guild show at El Pueblo History Museum.
Families sometimes fight over these treasures, but more often than not, because they are out of style or raggedy, they are discarded as so much junk. On the other hand, grandpa’s bench or other handmade item would survive the trash can. The difference? My theory is that grandma’s hand work was common, ordinary, and often, one of many. Grandpa’s work was probably one of a kind.
The preservation of such pieces has occupied entire museum staffs and countless, precious pieces have been lost before scientific methods of preservation were discovered and used. Those scientific methods are often no more than common sense and can be used in any home devoted to preserving such craftwork of los antepasados. Here are some ideas and recommendations on preserving fabric works.
STORING: To store embroidery, tatting, knitting, crochet or quilts, loosely ROLL them in NON-ACIDIC paper (such as rice paper) and store them in a cool, but no damp, place. That’s all there is to this “scientific process” but many wonderful craftwork has been lost due to moisture, fold lines, and acidic tissue paper. Don’t EVER wrap anything in newsprint as the inks are acidic and will fade the fabric or eat into it. Tissue paper also has chemicals that weaken the fibers. Purchase a bundle of tissue or other papers from such companies as Gay-lord Archival. There are other companies.
NEVER fold handwork for any length of time since folding fabrics weakens the fibers. Mildew is also a major culprit and the demise of cloth works.
To identify each piece of stored handiwork, use a cylinder of paper to note the name of the artisan, date of the piece and the materials used. Also note the occasion which caused the piece to be created (wedding, baptism). DO NOT write on the paper which encloses the piece because the ink may stain the cloth. DO NOT ADHERE TAPE to the piece because the tape adhesive may contain acids and cause discoloration to the cloth.
DISPLAYING: A grouping of framed handwork is a very attractive way to display cloth works (like doilies, or hankies). For a grouping of odd-sized pieces, use matching frames. Antiqued oak frames are very nice and can be purchased in any discount store.
Another method of displaying larger pieces such as quilts or shawls is to use stretcher bars or painters’ stretchers. Stretchers can be purchased at art supply stores or department stores. The technique involves stapling the cloth to the frame which can cause damage to older pieces. To avoid this, one recommendation is to sew several cloth tabs to the piece, then staple the cloth tabs to the frame. To make a stretch frame, use 1” x 2” pieces of wood if the frame is smaller than 2 feet in size. For larger frames, use 1” x 3” pieces of lumber. The corners should be mitered to fit together properly.