Gretel Underwood started working with handweaving shortly after moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico over 20 years ago. Leaving the din of Los Angeles behind to start her family, in Santa Fe she was greeted by expansive skies, a distinct local culture and the beautiful light that can only be found in the American Southwest.
Gretel learned about natural plant dyes and techniques, which lead to learning to weave. As she learned, she combined influences not only from the surrounding western landscape, but also from the traditional weaving styles of Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia and Mexico.
Over the years, the business has grown in many ways. No longer weaving alone, Gretel now works with local weavers and seamstresses, and is proud that every piece is made in the U.S.A. The product line has also expanded, and now includes jackets, coats and vests, plus a popular line of home interior pieces. In particular, throws have become a key part of Gretel Underwood, Inc., as people around the world look to bring beauty and warmth into their homes.
This growth has not overtaken the exceptional quality of each handmade piece, however. Using high quality American cotton chenille and imported yarns, every jacket and throw is unique, with an unmatched attention to detail of colors and patterns. “I love the fact that I have the ability to watch something grow before my eyes as I weave,” says Gretel, “It satisfies a special part of my soul to see every detail come alive in my designs.”
When Gretel is not at her loom or designing, she is spending time with her other passion, horseback riding. Between jumping and trail-riding, her love of riding horses is another way to connect with the traditions and beauty of the West.