Artist Profile | Embroidery | Transcript | Video      



Design &

How To







Evelyn Bird Quintana

San Juan Pueblo

Embroidery Artists
Lydia Chinana

Mabel Fragua
Isabel Gonzales
Evelyn Bird Quintana
Romancita Sandoval
Shawn Tafoya

“My mother started giving me bigger and bigger things to do. Finally she said, “Okay, this year you’re going to try a manta.”

After working up from cross-stitch and embroidery on small table pieces, curtain borders, and wall hangings under her mother’s tutelage, Evelyn Bird Quintana’s first manta won first prize at the Eight Northern Pueblo show. “That was a big challenge for me because you have to spin your wool yarn, and you’ve got to get it so it doesn’t unravel, and you’ve got to go through the whole process,” she recalled. “That was a lot of work.”
     Her mother Lorencita Bird, who learned to embroider at the old Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930s, was a “stickler for getting it right,” and Quintana is passing that penchant for quality on to her own daughters, along with a huge library of original designs created and drawn on graph paper by her mother. “I have so many designs from her, I’ll never run out of ideas,” Quintana said.
   Although she grew up in Santa Fe, Quintana now lives at San Juan Pueblo. When she was pregnant with her first daughter, she began learning embroidery from her mother, who was teaching at the Albuquerque Indian School at the time.

     Quintana does not like machine sewing and continues to finish her kilts with hand-braiding, or finger-weaving, although many embroiderers have abandoned the practice as too time-consuming. She is well known for her vests with decorative panels on either side, a style she learned from her mother.
     “ I hope more people, and younger people, get into embroidery because if they don’t, it is going to be a lost art,” Quintana said.

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