From the mid-17th century to the present day, herding sheep, carding wool, spinning yarn, dyeing with native plants, and weaving on iconic upright looms have all been steps in the intricate process of Navajo blanket and rug making in the American Southwest. Beginning in the late 1800s, amateur and professional photographers documented the Diné (Navajo) weavers and their artwork, and the images they captured tell the stories of the artists, their homes, and the materials, techniques, and designs they used. Many postcards illustrate popular interest surrounding weaving as an indigenous art form, even as economic, social, and political realities influenced the craft. These historical pictures illuminate perceived traditional weaving practices. The authors' accompanying narratives deepen the perspective and relate imagery to modern life.
According to the Navajos, the holy people Spider Man and Spider Woman first brought the tools for weaving to the People. Over the centuries Navajo artists have used those tools to weave a web of beautyÑa rich tradition that continues to the present day. In testimony to this living art form, this book presents 74 dazzling color plates of Navajo rugs and wall hangings woven between 1971 and 1996. Drawn from a private southwestern collection, they represent the work of sixty of the finest native weavers in the American Southwest. The creations depicted here reflect a number of stylesÑrevival, sandpainting, pictorial, miniature, samplerÑand a number of major regional variations, from Ganado to Teec Nos Pos. Textile authority Ann Hedlund provides an introductory narrative about the development of Navajo textile collectingÑincluding the shift of attention from artifacts to artÑand a brief review of the history of Navajo weaving. She then comments on the shaping of the particular collection represented in the book, offering a rich source of knowledge and insight for other collectors. Explaining themes in Navajo weaving over the quarter-century represented by the Santa Fe Collection, Hedlund focuses on the development of modern rug designs and the influence on weavers of family, community, artistic identity, and the marketplace. She also introduces each section of plates with a description of the representative style, its significance, and the weavers who perpetuate and deviate from it. In addition to the textile plates, Hedlund's color photographs show the families, landscapes, livestock, hogans, and looms that surround today's Navajo weavers. Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century explores many of the important connections that exist today among weavers through their families and neighbors, and the significant role that collectors play in perpetuating this dynamic art form. For all who appreciate American Indian art and culture, this book provides invaluable guidance to the fine points of collecting and a rich visual feast.
The Navajo rugs and textiles that people admire and buy today are the result of many historical influences, particularly the interaction between Navajo weavers and the traders who guided their production and controlled their sale. John Lorenzo Hubbell and other late-nineteenth-century traders were convinced they knew which patterns and colors would appeal to Anglo-American buyers, and so they heavily encouraged those designs. In Patterns of Exchange, Teresa J. Wilkins traces how the relationships between generations of Navajo weavers and traders affected Navajo weaving. The Navajos valued their relationships with Hubbell and others who operated trading posts on their reservation. As a result, they did not always see themselves as exploited victims of a capitalist system. Rather, because of Navajo cultural traditions of gift-giving and helping others, the artists slowly adapted some of the patterns and colors the traders requested into their own designs. By the 1890s, Hubbell and others commissioned paintings depicting particular weaving styles and encouraged Navajo weavers to copy them, reinforcing public perceptions of traditional Navajo weaving. Even the Navajos came to revere certain designs as “the weaving of the ancestors.” Enhanced by numerous illustrations, including eight color plates, this volume traces the intricate play of cultural and economic pressures and personal relationships between artists and traders that guided Navajo weavers to produce textiles that are today emblems of the Native American Southwest. Winner - Multi-cultural Subject, New Mexico Book Awards
For travelers passing through northern Navajo country, the desert landscape appears desolate. The few remaining Navajo trading posts, once famous for their bustling commerce, seem unimpressive. Yet a closer look at the economic and creative activity in this region, which straddles northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah, belies a far more interesting picture. In Traders, Agents, and Weavers, Robert S. McPherson unveils the fascinating—and at times surprising—history of the merging of cultures and artistic innovation across this land. McPherson, the author of numerous books on Navajo and southwestern history, narrates here the story of Navajo economic and cultural development through the testimonies of traders, government agents, tribal leaders, and accomplished weavers. For the first half of the twentieth century, trading posts dominated the Navajo economy in northwestern New Mexico. McPherson highlights the Two Grey Hills post and its sister posts Toadlena and Newcomb, which encouraged excellence among weavers and sold high-quality rugs and blankets. Parallel to the success of the trading industry was the establishment of the Northern Navajo or Shiprock Agency and Boarding School. The author explains the pivotal influence on the area of the agency’s stern and controversial founder, William T. Shelton, known by Navajos as Tall Leader. Through cooperation with government agents, American settlers, and traders, Navajo weavers not only succeeded financially but also developed their own artistic crafts. Shunning the use of brightly dyed yarn and opting for the natural colors of sheep’s wool, these weavers, primarily women, developed an intricate style that has few rivals. Eventually, economic shifts, including oil drilling and livestock reduction, eroded the traditional Navajo way of life and led to the collapse of the trading post system. Nonetheless, as McPherson emphasizes, Navajo weavers have maintained their distinctive style and method of production to this day.
2,000 Artist Biographies, C. 1800-present : with Value/price Guide Featuring Over 20 Years of Auction Records
Author: Gregory Schaaf
Publisher: Ciac Press
Hardcover, 319 pages, 2,000 color and historic b & w illustrations; Featuring Navajo blankets & rugs, Pueblo textiles, Cherokee, Alaskan Native and other tribes, ca. 1850 to present. Dimensions (in inches): 11.50 x 1.00 x 8.75 Vol. 3 - American Indian Art Series. REVIEWS: ***** The Bible of Native Arts! Native Peoples Magazine The volume will for decades remain a primary resource. Dr. Bruce Bernstain, Smithsonian Institutiton, National Museum of the American Indian We applaud the efforts of Dr. Gregory Schaaf in his American Indian Art Series. Susan Pourian, The Indian Craft Shop, Department of Interior THE reference books for Indian art. Isa and Dick Diestler
Navajo Weavings from the Edwin L. & Ruth E. Kennedy Southwest Native American Collection
Author: Jennifer McLerran
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Weaving Is Life features multiple generations of Navajo weavers. Exquisitely crafted artworks and compelling first-hand narratives demonstrate how Navajo weaving functions as an important carrier of cultural values. Those with expertise in weaving practice are valued repositories of traditional cultural knowledge. Navajo weaving reinforces and allows the artist to participate in values of hard work, thrift, and creativity. It facilitates knowledge of and the proper care and nurturing of the environment. Weavers are depended upon to convey insight and expertise to subsequent generations, which has served to further important mother-daughter and grandmother-granddaughter bonds. Featured artists include D. Y. Begay, Grace Henderson Nez, Mary Henderson Begay, Gloria Jean Begay, Glenabah Hardy, Irene Clark, Teresa Clark, Lillie Taylor, Rosie Taylor, and Diane Taylor-Beall. D. Y. Begay also contributes an insightful essay on her experience as co-curator of the exhibition that accompanies this publication. Essays by Janet Catherine Berlo and Jennifer McLerran focus on the transcultural development of Navajo weaving, exploring the influence of varied markets and audiences-including indigenous, tourist, and fine arts-on traditional forms and practices. Museum educator Sally Delgado addresses the educational value of Navajo weaving practices for non-Native students.
Grazing, land use history, and grazing systems of the southwest; Range ecosystems; Economic, social, and cultural aspects of livestock production and management; Research and information needs and conclusions.