The highlight of the home's décor is Rhiannon's spectacularly woven creations.
Inside Textile Artist Rhiannon Griego's Rustic Home in New Mexico
The highlight of the home's décor is Rhiannon's spectacularly woven creations.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour textile artist, Rhiannon Griego's rustic home in New Mexico.
The ancient art of weaving has been serving as functional and decorative art since 3400 BC. For textile artist Rhiannon Griego, it allows for design and aesthetic expression embodied in a woven fabric. "Two threads can create a whole world," she shares with Bed Threads Journal.
She studied interior design before a friend introduced her to the world of beading. "The methodical and prayerful act of beadwork gifted me the ability to see myself complete something without much knowledge and I explored jewellery making for a few years until I was ready for something new," she says. She pivoted to weaving and after a year of studying with a mentor took up handweaving as her full-time work. "Textiles had always held a mysterious presence to me and one that mystified me with spiritual infusion as well as awe in construction."
She has now been pursuing this career for 10 years, masterfully creating everything from kaftans to fine artworks, many of which taking well over 50 hours to produce in her studio in New Mexico. "New Mexico’s soil and landscapes have been the primary source of my inspiration for 12 years so it’s the perfect place for me to appreciate minerals, strata, skylines, and muted pigments."
Rhiannon immediately knew this house in New Mexico was the home for her "...I felt goosebumps run up my arms." The abode leans into the local vernacular and takes into account the region’s warm climate utilising adobe walls, latillas, and vigas – all of which combine to create an aesthetic that's beautifully rustic.
Warm tones prevail within from the Rust and Oatmeal linen in the primary bedroom to the terracotta tone of the walls. "I bought organic materials such as wood, baskets, and plants so there is a thread between the tones outside of the home and interior space," she says.
The highlight of the home's décor is Rhiannon's creations which are featured throughout and that add character, pattern, and texture to each space. "My textiles in the living space make me smile every morning."
We took a tour of Rhiannon's charming home and spoke to her about her unique career as a textile artist, her creative process, and how she's styled her space.
Hi Rhiannon! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I am a textile artist who hand weaves luxurious wearable art, homewares and fine art textiles.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I am a thoughtful individual so the process of building objects of art is a natural space for me. I love to consider how to create matter from energy and its relative to the process of weaving with a loom; two threads can create a whole world. The realm of creating takes mindfulness, curiosity, and the ability to be patient watching as it takes shape, so I have found myself much more at peace in working with my hands.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
My career has been a slow unfolding with opportunities that direct me this way and that way, it hasn’t been a linear directive. I studied interior design and imagined myself as one who would create sanctuaries and experiences in those spaces however I met a friend who invited me one day to bead with her.
The methodical and prayerful act of beadwork gifted me the ability to see myself complete something without much knowledge and I explored jewellery making for a few years until I was ready for something new. Textiles had always held a mysterious presence to me and one that mystified me with spiritual infusion as well as awe in construction. I pivoted into weaving after a year of study with my mentor and it’s been almost ten years of pursuing a career in handwaving.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
I dream. That is the first step of the process and I permit myself to really get lost in the imagination before I draw down concepts or colours into the materials. I like to limit my time on social media when I feel ready to birth a new collection as the power of imagery can linger in our minds and I’d prefer to be infused by the stillness of nature for the raw objective. New Mexico’s soil and landscapes have been the primary source of my inspiration for 12 years so it’s the perfect place for me to appreciate minerals, strata, skylines and muted pigments.
On occasion, I sketch but mainly, my process is intuitive. I will literally rush to the studio with an idea so viscerally present, I gaze upon the wall of yarns and start throwing everything into a basket to wind on bobbins. 85% of the time I weave, I do not lift the lever so I can view what’s been woven; I enjoy the free-form meditation I’m in and the excitement, sometimes disappointment, of what’s been created.
It’s important to differentiate between my functional art approach and my fine artwork. The above process is designated for my wearables. My fine artwork is calculated and as its theme is centred around basketry so I am present with mathematics and dimensions while I weave. The intention is almost conceptual so I place my mind into a different sphere as to weave with a specific purpose or ceremonial matter so it’s conveyed in the completed work.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
The most crucial tool up to date has been social media; it’s been a beautiful extension of myself across continents to connect with creatives and collectors. The realm of social media has drastically changed in the last year and I am no longer as enthusiastic about it as I once was so I am pivoting. At this juncture, I would say I am the most crucial tool as I am the maker, the spokesperson, and the one who can speak deeply about why I do what I do.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
I would say the best experience so far is breathing life into collectors around the world to believe in hand-woven goods 100%. I feel connected to the slow process of beauty being made in 2022 and the vast network of individuals who never lost the tradition and or who are returning to it. There is a movement of handmade objects of art returning to the consumer sphere and the buyers are the ones making it happen. Every sale of my hand-woven work spent in 50+ hours truly is amazing!
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Practice with discipline to not compare yourself to anyone else and the more you trust your own voice, the further you will go.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
I have lived here for 2+ years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
I knew from the moment I walked up to the home, I felt goosebumps run up my arms. It was everything I wrote on my dream home list.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
There wasn’t much the home needed and I’ve left it as is to maintain the abode's old-world charm.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
The landscape here in New Mexico is warm and bringing in neutral tones keeps it cool in the summer. The east side of the home is floor to ceiling windows so I placed artwork to catch the natural light throughout the day and have made the living zone in these spaces extra comfortable. In an old adobe like this, the emphasis is on the existing structure with the design elements that make this space classic New Mexico; adobe walls, latillas, and vigas. I bought organic materials such as wood, baskets, and plants so there is a thread between the tones outside of the home and interior space.
What are your favorite pieces in the home?
Honestly, my textiles in the living space make me smile every morning. I adore the built-in banco as it’s handmade and imperfect and the stairs are artwork themselves.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
More plants! Living in the high desert has me craving additional foliage inside for when the winter sets in.
Which is your favorite room in the house?
The downstairs living room by spring and summer as the light is gorgeous and it’s near the record player. By autumn and winter, upstairs with the kiva fireplace.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
The bedroom is a sanctuary for rest, not a place to stimulate the mind so keeping it calm in a colourway that permits rest is great. I strongly adhere to bringing in what inspires you, you will see these objects every day so collecting pieces that tell a story or uplift you is important.
Surrounding oneself with organic materials, fibres or plants is a harmonious way to keep one tethered to the environment they dwell in. Lastly, keep in mind colours and what they evoke. I personally love neutral tones and muted colours as it brings a sense of peace and calm so I can nurture myself in my solitude before I bounce back into the world for brightness.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
My fall collection will be debuting the second week of October and this is a collection full of new autumnal tones I’m excited about. There is always a fun assortment of wearables in fall/winter, especially for the holidays. I have my first installation coming up in February and anyone interested can sign up for my newsletter to find out the details.