Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fancy "Spirit Line" On a Fancy Double Saddle Blanket

We typically look for a "Spirit Line" or "weaver's pathway" in the upper right-hand corner of a Navajo weaving, and if we find one it is usually a line of weft from an inner field or inner border extending across borders to the edge of the weaving. Explanations of its meaning are as varied as the lines themselves, but they generally imply protection of the weaver's abilities to continue to create and make a living from weaving, and prevent the artist's spirit form being locked into the recently completed weaving.

Santa Fe-based rug restorer Laura Center has documented numerous examples of hidden spirit lines attached to the warp rather than the weft, and she interprets many intentional anamolies in a design as serving the same purpose as a spirit line. The saddle blanket shown here includes a 'decorative' purple weft that wraps around a warp add-in that connects the white border out to the selvedge.

For further discussion of spirit lines, see Noel Bennett's "The Weaver's Pathway" from Northland Press in Flagstaff AZ.