Recently, one of my local libraries hosted an afternoon talk by Gary Beaudoin, an Oregon collector of Navajo rugs and author of “Unbroken Web: The Art of Ellen & Lucy Begay” (find in a library).
Through Beaudoin’s words and display of his personal collection, we entered the world of this mother and daughter, who weave traditional Navajo rugs.
Only the red color is dyed, all the variations of browns and creams are the natural color of the Churro wool they get from their own flock.
Rare treasures, each rug is unique and takes about one year to make. The designs incorporate traditional motifs as well as the artist’s interpretation of natural forms.
Passed from generation to generation, weavers learn mostly by watching rather than direct instruction.
These women use weave by hand rather than by using a shuttle. The artist uses her fingers to choose each strand of the warp to go under or over.
In the video below you can see the process about one minute in:
For more information about the process, artists and their work here are a few helpful links:
The World of Navajo weavers and Navajo weaving
Arizona State Navajo Weaving Exhibit
A Brief Social History of Navajo Weaving (The Collector’s Guide)