Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Native Elder Weaving Show

Navajo Grandmas, even in their nineties, still produce income for their families via their weaving skills.
These grandmas (are they sweet looking?) were sisters and I got to see some of their work last Sunday at the Adopt a Native Elder weaving show up in Deer Valley.
I drove up to the Deer Valley ski resort where the show was held after dropping Bernie off at the airport (again...he's been gone more than at home a lot lately.)

It felt like a Native American version of a quilt show.
The weaving were hung on the knotty pine walls of the Deer Valley Lodge, or stacked on tables.
The weavers often were seated at the table or below the weaving.
I really liked this bird themed weaving.

Each year the Native Elders are given a theme to tackle in a weaving.
This year it was "Winter".
The show began on Friday and the wall where the Winter themed weaving were hung was already pretty thinned out.
That was great news; the sale of a weaving can make a huge difference to an Elder Native and her family.

An over view of one room.
The Christmas tree had "adoptable" elders with their needs list and their photo.

It took me a bit to get acclimated as there was so much to see.
The Native Elders wore their native garb and jewelry, so I was looking at that (and trying not to just gawk and stare...some of their jewelry was amazing.)

The weavings ranged from around $200 and up to $6,000.
Naturally I fell in love with a lot of them.
A lot of resorts and businesses buy the weaving and install them with proper lighting and display.
I can't think of a better way to decorate: helping Native people while also displaying their work where many people can enjoy the work.

This was a whimsical surprise.
I do know that there is reason for symbols in weavings so I wondered why one of these weavings had feathers while the other had a different motif.

The one with the three figures appealed to me color wise, while the four women together appealed to me thematically.

I wish now I had been more bold and had asked the weavers to explain their weavings.
There must be something special going on with this line of people.

This weaving was the star of the show as far as I was concerned.
The lady showing it is not the weaver, but she explained that it is the story about a wedding between two tribes.
The wedding takes place in a V shaped area, while the edges flow with images of sea, sky, forests and plant life.
It would look awesome above my couch downstairs.
(If I had $6000 plus dollars for decorating that space.)
Actually it would be so wrong to not have this elegant piece in public display somewhere.
I hope some business buys it at over the stated priced.

Everyone loves a wedding...
I asked if the weaver had been inspired by a wedding in her own family.
The lady didn't know.

Hogans/cars/modern life mixed with Native life in this colorful weaving.
Any toddler would be fascinated at all the images.
(And this 59 year old was fascinated too...)

There was a weaving demonstration and children were invited to give weaving a try.
Happily more and more Native people are taking up traditional weaving; the original "grandmas" are now teaching their sons and daughters and their grandchildren as well.

It was fun seeing the velvet skirts and tops on the ladies.
When I was about five years old my family took a vacation to Arizona and visited "Navajo" country.
I saw women dressed in the velvet skirts and tops back then.
Fifty years later...the same style, same fabric, same outfits are still being worn.
I have to wonder what they wear around the Hogan though.
The native garment looks comfortable...but perhaps jeans or sweats work better for weaving and sheep tending and gardening and such.

Any time someone purchased a weaving a picture with the weaver was in order.
Don't you love her proud smile?

I loved this piece too.
There is so much animation in the figures I found myself kind of bouncing along as I looked at it.

A nice little display explaining the natural dye sources that the weavers use.
There are a lot of sheep herds around Utah so wool is plentiful.
Going from sheep to rug is a big process though.
There were huge yarn balls for sale to be given to a Native Elder to weave during the winter, as not all weavers can afford the cost of the yarn themselves.
There were also other charitable options...one could donate food packs, blanket packs, shoes for kids and so on.
I hope their 2014 show was a huge success!
They do have an on-line store HERE where you can see more of their weaving.
Buying on line is fine, but buying from a weaver who hands the weaving over to you in person...not sure electronic purchase can match that experience.
No wonder folks love going to the Native Elder weaving show to purchase the Navajo weaving from the weavers in person.


ellen b. said...

Those pieces are really amazing. What a good way to raise money and support...

Vee said...

Beautiful work! I'd love having a Navajo blanket, but I'll have to win the lottery first.

I'm digging about in the archives...don't mind me. = D

Rosella said...

Jill - these weavings are absolutely beautiful!! What an interesting show. It would be so hard to resist buying one from these talented weavers.
BTW thanks for your comment on my "Escape" post. Send me an email and I'll give you more information (my email is listed under my profile). These trailers are made in Chilliwack BC. - not so far from you!

Julie said...

Jill...did you really not buy even ONE?
Weaving has always fascinated me - being spatially challenged it is the ultimate to me in being able to visualize the whole while focused on the part of each thread!
I was happy to read that the old women's skill is being taught to the younger generations.