My Mom the Weaver

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would show you the impossibly gorgeous rugs made by none other than my madre.  My mom learned to weave and then taught weaving classes at the local University in the ’70s.  I grew up with these beauties in the house, and even as a kid I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

Donna Matthews Rug

On this side the rug is dark brown, almost black, and grey. As you can see in the next photo, on the opposite side the brown has faded to a soft qiviut color.


Donna Matthews Rug

When we were kids one of the rugs was in the living room, and another was upstairs. These days the rugs are kept rolled up in a closet upstairs. I think it was the cat that lived to be 22 years old and puked pretty much every day of the last 11 years of her life (I still love you Terra, wherever you are!) that convinced my mom to roll them up and put them in the attic.  Living, as I do, in a house where at any given moment some creature or other is barfing or worse, I can relate.  Even without the constant threat of hurling in my mom’s house these days, all my oohing and aahing hasn’t convinced her to display them again.

Donna Matthews Rug


Donna Matthews- Rug

The rugs are “picnic rugs” – soft and pliable wool.  Underfoot they feel like clouds made of macaron cookies and kittens.

Donna Matthews Rug

I particularly love the colors in this rug.  The mustard yellow (and you know I love mustard in all its forms) in this rug is paired with unexpected and bold colors.  The red is sort of an artisanal ketchup color, but that’s where the condiment comparisons end, because what really slays me is the pink.  PINK AND MUSTARD.  What kind of genius weaves pink and mustard yellow together?  My mom, that’s who.

Donna Matthews Rug

My mom pointed out later that this is actually the wrong side of the rug. If it’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right (except I do, because the other side is so pretty too!).

She wove other things aside from rugs, including clothing. I vividly remember her in a skirt and matching shawl, though I didn’t know at the time that she’d made them.  Here’s the shawl, displayed as a table runner:

Donna Matthews-Shawl

As you might remember from my bathroom makeover, I am firmly in the red and purple go together camp (incidentally, one of my favorite bloggers, Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook is also a purple and red devotee).  Apparently the love for that combo is in my genetics.

Donna Matthews Shawl

And here is a lovely little sampler showcasing different weaving techniques:

Donna Matthews-Sampler

Isn’t it beautiful? Thanks to my talented mom for letting me share these beauties here on Red House West. I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day!  Check back on Wednesday for a post from Katie, and be sure to submit your Good Scores to or by tagging #rhwgoodscore on Instagram for a chance to win (see the details here).

14 responses on “My Mom the Weaver

    1. meramatthews

      I am truly lucky to have such a creative and talented mom, and her weavings are just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks Caroline!

    1. meramatthews

      Aren’t they breathtaking?!? Thanks Sydney, can’t wait to see you and that gorgeous opera singer/boat captain kid of yours!

  1. Susan Glassow

    They are such treasures, Mera. Thank you for sharing your mother’s weavings. I love your descriptions and I could look at the pictures for hours! She’s so gifted in the way she weaves colors and designs. I had a small table loom in the 1970s and took lessons on a grand floor loom at an arts center in our neighborhood. I had room on the little loom for runners, place mats and pillow covers but I never explored this auroa borealis of possibilities. Please share my admiration with your mother!

    1. meramatthews

      Thank you Susan! I hope to see your woven artistry sometime when I’m down that way. I will definitely pass along your kind words to my mom. Thanks!

  2. Marlene Miller

    These are gorgeous and fabulous beyond words! I know your mom is incredibly creative and talented and have seen some things she created, but had no idea about these beautiful rugs. I am crazy in love with the PINK and MUSTARD weave.You clearly have some of her artistic and superbly stylish genes! Thank you Mera and Donna for sharing these with us.

    1. meramatthews

      Aren’t they mind blowing?! If I had 1/1,000 of my mom’s artistic ability I would be very talented indeed. Thank you Sweetest Marlene!

  3. Katy Gilmore

    Oh Mera – and Donna! – These are so gorgeous – colors colors! In spite of the mustard and pink combo with those cheerful chairs, which I love, I’m struck also by the quiet beauty of the first pattern – both sides. Weaving seems such patient magic to me – so rooted in history and culture – thanks for sharing these moments of concentration and color! (Mera I hope you are, with permission, hashtagging some of these for DS pattern challenge!)

    1. meramatthews

      I agree, Katy, the colorful rugs are eye-popping, but the first one does have a captivating “quiet beauty” as you said. Good idea about dspattern, thanks!

  4. Carol Crump Bryner

    I love geometric pattern, and these rugs show it off so uniquely. It’s a treat to zoom in on just small areas of that many-colored rug to see the different combinations of color and shape. I remember those days when your mom was weaving, We showed work in the very first Anchorage Museum’s “Earth, Fire, and Fiber” exhibit (except I think it was called “Design I” then – or something like that). My contribution to the show were two – if you can believe it – pieces of MACRAME! What a nice tribute to your mom’s sense of design you’ve written Mera.

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