My Hands Remind Me of Yours – showing gratitude for those that have inspired


On Nov. 18, artist Rhiannon ‘Skye’ Tafoya’s show titled “My Hands Remind Me of Yours” came to an end at the Linfield University Gallery. This show had been on display starting Oct. 14 and displayed works of intricate paper weaving, printmaking, basket weaving, and book making. 

“The title of the show refers to all of my teachers and all the people that have inspired me – from when I was a kid, up until today” Tafoya explained. “I wanted it to show that all of these experiences have shaped my artistic processes and my artistic career. I never want to forget them because they are so important.”

A large metal weaving, that hung on the gallery wall, was created with the help of her father. This piece enabled Tafoya to connect to her father through her process as an artist. 

“My hands just want to weave. My maternal grandmother is a basketmaker. My dad is also a basketmaker, just a different type,” Tafoya said. 

Another piece from the show, a black letterpress print and frosted film weaving, was inspired by two of her cousins. As a child Tafoya would watch her cousins draw and create, making them some of the first artists she had seen.

“I think I have always been an artist – dabbling in drawing. [Now] I am in a constant mix of different media, but I love weaving, basketry, printmaking, bookmaking, [and] sometimes [dabble in] the sculptural field,” Tafoya said.  

Tafoya started her undergrad with the intention of earning a degree in exercise science. But after discovering science was not a passion and losing funding for school, she transferred to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe New Mexico. 

“That is where I picked up painting and it kind of shifted my love for art again,” Tafoya said. “[Then] I really fell in love with printmaking. It was a different way to connect with a media, because it’s so different from drawing and painting – which are additive processes. A lot of time screen printing is reductive and involves backwards thinking. I really like to problem solve so I think that really helped me pursue printmaking as my main media for the longest time.”

After school she moved from New Mexico to Portland Ore. where she started working at a community center with children. There the idea of pursuing higher education was heavily promoted, inspiring her to return to school. She attended the Pacific Northwest College of Arts where she earned her MFA. 

“[That] is where I finally knew that I wanted to be an artist,” Tafoya said. “I felt like I always knew before, but it was almost like a pipe dream, you know.” 

Here she learned about letterpress printing and bookmaking – processes that are still prevalent in her current work. 

“Recently I have been getting into residencies, [meaning] I have studios to work in. Which is really nice because then I can work on letterpress prints or I can make screen prints – materials I then cut up and use in weaving” Tafoya said. 

In addition to letterpress printing and weaving, her artistic process now also includes a digital step. Using Adobe Illustrator, she figured out how to create and color grids. She then uses these grids to create an array of designs that can easily be copied and pasted to create even larger designs. 

“I taught myself [this] digital process after I had my baby. My partner is a cartoonist . . . and I was envious of how he could work with his iPad [while being around the baby]. So I taught myself digital processing because I couldn’t physically get to my desk to draw or cut things up.  So, that is kind of where each of my weavings starts now,” Tafoya said. 

Much of her work now combines these digital processes with her already established analog processes (drawing, weaving, printmaking, etc.). These pieces can take 40 to 60 hours to complete, depending on the size. 



“I have gotten really good at it, the over and over, the repetition of it. It has gotten easier but I have to stretch a lot [after] working for hours” Tafoya said. 

If you missed Tafoya’s show in the Linfield Gallery much of the same work will be displayed at Oregon State University next year. In the spring, Tafoya also has an upcoming show with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and a residency with Tiger Stripes Asteroid, where she gets to explore the integration of digital and analog processes. Next fall, she has a residency with Pro Shadow, an invite only residency focused on printmaking.

“I am just grateful to be where I am at,” Tafoya said. “It takes a long time to get to the point where people are recognizing your work, and I am just truly thankful.”


To explore more of  Rhiannon ‘Skye’ Tafoya’s work visit her website: