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Collectors get a preview of Indian Market treasures

Irvin L. Trujillo did not set out to be a weaver. He had a degree in nuclear engineering and a spot at Los Alamos National Lab, but. hey! Anybody can be a nuclear engineer! Not just anybody can create the perfect combination of sublime colors and shapes that Irvin Trujillo magically spins into his tapestries of merino and silk, a craft he has perfected enough to have won four prize ribbons at Spanish Market this year, including overall Best of Show.

I asked him how many times in his life he had won Best of Show, but he demurred … said he couldn’t remember. Others do! (Especially his competition.) This was his fifth time!

You recognize the names. The Trujillo and Ortega families have been weaving in ChimayĆ³ since 1729, for six generations. Irvin, when he began at age 10, learned at his father’s and grandfather’s looms, making every rug a one of a kind. When he’s not weaving, he’s a rock star, playing drums in his reggae band. You do meet the most interesting characters in Santa Fe and charming Irvin fit the bill.

The first Spanish Market was held in 1928, with 11 artists showing their handmade Spanish Colonial artworks on the Plaza. This year, about 250 artists and craftsmen displayed on the Plaza and surrounding streets for the 67th consecutive Spanish Market since the ’60s.

Very interested parties can go Friday night before Spanish Market at 6 p.m. to the Preview Opening Event at El Museo for an up close, more intimate look, free of the madding crowd. You can’t buy anything, or even reserve anything, but you can see whose booth you want to be at tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn for first chance to buy the best pieces!

About 100 really serious collectors sprang for an $80 ticket to attend the even more exclusive and private “Collector’s Hour” at 5 p.m., an hour before the Preview. Leisurely, close up examination, private visiting with the artists, note taking and list making … these are the avid collectors who might set up their camp stools in the night for the prize winners and treasures they don’t want to risk losing to the 6 a.m. early birds on Saturday.

Those 1928 pieces are now collector’s items and museum pieces … 90 years later, I wonder what you bought?


Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email