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Donna Loraine Contractor

"Koch Snowflake Fractal"  
Univeral Language Series, by Donna Loraine Contractor

Donna Loraine Contractor was born in Waukegan, IL and came to New Mexico to attend St. John’s College in Santa Fe. Since she moved to Albuquerque 23 years ago, she has won over 30 art competitions and commissions throughout the state and country. Contractor’s work incorporates the landscapes and colors of New Mexico with bold contemporary architectural frames that create depth and optical illusions. 
The late Douglas Kent Hall, in The Thread of New Mexico, said, “Contractor combines unlikely dynamic forms with a scintillating palette to achieve an evocative and compelling style of weaving. She utilized traditional....concepts as well as certain graphic constructs that fueled the work of many twentieth-century painters and brings to contemporary tapestry a freshness that is sometimes startling.”

Artist's statement: Why do I weave?

First, I love machines. The loom won out over the pottery wheel with the coming of children. Once I walked into a loom room, saw way it looked, the things it could do, its parts, etc., I was hooked. I now own and weave primarily on an AVL professional 8-harness rug loom with a dobby mechanism, pneumatic tensioning system and a worm gear. See how I love the parts!

Next, I love the materials. From the strong smooth cotton warp to the luster of hand-dyed wools and the sparkle of silks, I continue to be enraptured with the feel and look of textiles. I’m becoming captivated by some unusual materials - stainless steels, paper and UV changing fibers. These will find their way into future work.

Color is a source of constant joy for me and I delight in the full range of its use - bold and surprising color combinations and the subtle gradations of a single color. The colors and the unique quality of light in the Southwest, and the diverse forms of its land and sky scapes, make up a rich and diverse palette.

Finally, I love metaphor. The very act of weaving has become metaphor – the web of life, weaving a tale - and is entwined with my choice of imagery and the use of the window set within a frame, a view to another place, another reality as a motif in my work. I try to achieve a blend of the representational and the abstract and to keep a geometrical contemporary feel in the frames.


I usually work on several pieces concurrently. The various themes and motifs of the pieces cross-pollinate each other, the patterns and pleasing ratios found all around us: the golden mean, the spiral of a seed head or the placement of branches on a tree The three specific bodies of work that I am working on concurrently are:

The “Architectonic Series” challenges me to create three-dimensional imagery from a two dimensional plane. M.C. Escher and other optical illusion artists inspired me to create surprising architectonic spaces that seem to change just when you feel you’ve figured them out. Hand-dyed and tightly spun wool, with its particular and beautiful light reflecting characteristics produce a texture and luminosity that no pigment on paper could.

The “Universal Language Series” draws from my background in liberal arts at St. John’s College, and my and studies of Chinese mathematical images. It’s a challenge to make clear what mathematical concepts means without words. Circles, curves and fractal patterns explore the concept of nets or webs, all in order to showcase the principles that order our world.

The “Feng Shui Series” is a meditation on color, balanced energy and finessed design, combining symbols found in the I Ching with geometric forms and vivid hues.
Feng Shui, based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the environment is alive and filled with influential energy. The colors in the Feng Shui Series are an expression of one of the five Chinese elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. The I Ching symbols describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is intrinsic to ancient Chinese cultural beliefs, centered on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of the inevitability of change.

All the pieces in this series celebrate the precision and elegance of geometric forms and formulas and the beauty of color and balance.

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Online shops:  
Languages spoken: English, and a little Hindi ( My husband is from India)

 "Fractured Squares 3"  
Fractured Squares Series, by Donna Loraine Contractor

Tags: Tapestry, Fine Art Tapestry , Tapestry Artist, Hand woven Tapestry, Southwest, Geometric

1 comment:

  1. The love that you have for the machines and parts is exactly what made me run away from weaving. I tried some very simple pieces, years ago, and was completely overwhelmed! I have a lot of patience for some things (needlework, repetitive tasks, etc.), but not for others and I think that trying to control all the threads in an orderly manner is what made me scream. So, my hat is off to you and to other weavers! I have total and complete respect for your ability and vision!


“Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction,- a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse”
-Henry David Thoreau

In our case, it would be the needle or other fiber tool. Drive it home! And, we all thank you for your words, left here to these good folks. Invoke your Muse!


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