“Navajo women weavers, as has often been said, are among the best in the Handmade Native NAVAJO HANDMADE TEXTILES American rugs andworld.” Raymond Friday Locke textiles are truly works of art; they are one-of-a-kind items that take many months to create. The handmade Navajo rugs are part of a sacred history that dates back more than 300 years, when weaving was introduced to the Navajo tribe. But the gorgeous Native American rugs, wall hangings, blankets, a nd other textiles are not just representatives of the past; they’re also emblems of “The Next Phase” of Navajo weaving. Description by Edward S. Curtis: ”The Navaho- land blanket looms are in evidence everywhere. In the winter months they are set up in the hogans, but during the summer they are erected outdoors under an improvised shelter, or, as in this case, beneath a tree. The simplicity of the loom and its product are here clearly shown, pictured in the early morning light under a large cottonwood.”
SPIDER WOMAN Textiles have been a documented part of Native American culture for over two thousand years. For the Navajo, weaving was a gift of Spider Woman who taught the craft to the first Diné, or people. The loom was brought to The People by Spider Boy who taught them its meaning; the frame composed of the Sky and the Earth, the lashing of lightning, the warp of rain; the whole representing the weaver and her relationship between the Sky and the Earth.
GRANDMOTHER SPIDER IS AN IMPORTANT GODDESS AMONGST THEMANY NATIVE AMERICAN ...
A Navajo legend a HISTORY OF NAVAJO RUGS & BLANKETS The history of Navajo weaving is in deity named Spider Woman with teaching many ways the history of the Navajo them weaving. The first loom was said to people. The Navajo textile in its be of sky and earth cords with tools of design, materials, and purpose is like sunlight, lightning, wh ite shell, and crystal. a mirror reflecting not only the In reality, Pueblo Indians taught the Navajos how to weaver, but her whole people, in a weave. The Pueblo people of Northern specific time and place in their history. New Mexico were cultivating cotton However it is not for this reason alone around 1300 AD, which they used that the Navajo weaving now and for weaving. They practiced finger throughout history has been perhaps weaving, and had also learned the use of the backstrap loom the most valued and sought after from Mexican Indian tribes. textile product of the American Southwest. The artistic beauty and sensible function of Navajo woven textiles combine to make them sublime.
ANTIQUE NAVAJO TEXTILES: The first weavings of The People were made for personal use and as valuable trade items. Navajo rug blankets were renowned throughout North America for their beauty and utility, being soft and warm, and because of the natural lanolin in the wool, water resistant as well. Early Navajo rug weaving designs and yarns changed often throughout the years due to the influence of the many cultures active in the Southwest at the time. The beautiful hand woven Navajo Serapes show a great amount of Mexican and Spanish influence. The chief’s blankets, so named because their beauty and value often made them accessible only to the prosperous Plains Indian chiefs and the wealthy white and Mexican colonists, evolved over the years from simple striped blankets to block geometrics and eventually elaborate diamond patterns.
ANTIQUE NAVAJO The turn of the century saw Each is unique to the weaver cheaper manufactured wool and categorized in regional blankets begin to supplant the styles based on patterns and Navajo blanket and demand for colors that have come to be them began to wane. Early identified as that area’s signature traders stepped in to encourage design. As in centuries their local weavers to continue past, Navajo rugs still are woven weaving in the fine artistic in the highest of artistic tradition of the Navajo standards, on the same type of blanket, opening Eastern loom that Spider Boy presented. markets. The weaving tradition is passed Since the demand for decorative down from hand to rugs far outweighed the demand hand, generation to for blankets. The Navajo blanket generation, and the craft of the became the Navajo rug, an art Spider Woman lives on today. form produced today for wall hangings and floor coverings.
GANADO, WOVEN BY EMMA BEGAY, NAVAJO. Here is Emmas idea of a Ganado pattern. As carried down even to today, Hubbells designs featured a brilliant red background surrounded by strong geometric crosses, diamonds, and stripes constructed with yarns of grey, white and black. Hubbells textiles usually featured a central motif of one or two diamonds, sometimes a cross, with smaller geometrics occupying the remaining spaces. Emma has studied books and the original Hubbell patterns. If you ever visit the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, now a museum, you will see some of his original design patterns that he handed the Navajo weavers. Size: 33" wide by 47" long. Price: $1,500.
Most Navajo rugs will be great THE DESIGN OF NATIVE AMERICAN RUGS “MIRROR” examples of what is known as symmetrical balance. This means that when the rug is viewed, it looks like each side is a mirror design of the other side. If the Native American rugs were folded in half, the designs would match up symmetrically. The design found on the right side of the rug is symmetrical from left to right. The rug is also symmetrical in design from top to bottom. The top half and the bottom half appear to be mirror images of each other. Even those just starting to weave were taught to carefully plan out their design before they began creating the rug.
NAVAJO TODAY Today the Navajo textile is recognized world wide for its intrinsic value as the product of an artist, a heritage, a culture, and a history. Older Navajo rugs and blankets are actively sought for collection by private individuals and museums. Being made of biodegradable materials the rarity and hence the value of Navajo textiles increase dramatically with age. New records are being set with the purchase of antique Navajo textiles through important curations and auctions. The value and artistry of contemporary Navajo weaving is also appreciated today more than at any other time.
WORKS CITED http://www.canyonart.com/rugs-s-w.htm http://www.indians.org/articles/native-american- rugs.html http://www.indians.org/articles/native-american- rugs.html