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 was named a Local Treasure for her contribution to the Duke City’s visual art scene by the Albuquerque Art Business Association. She has won numerous art competitions and commissions such as a triptych for the City/County Building in Albuquerque and a large tapestry for the Bernalillo County Courthouse. Other accolades include the display of her tapestries at the Albuquerque Museum, MFA @ Santa Fe and an appearance on a HGTV special. Donna's work is shown and collected throughout the United States and abroad. She operates an apprenticeship program at her Nob Hill studio.
I weave for many reasons. First, I love machines. Once I walked into a loom room, saw the 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. 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 “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.
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 is based on the Taoist understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the environment is alive and filled with influential energy. All the pieces in this series celebrate the precision and elegance of geometric forms and formulas and the beauty of color and balance.