Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Navajo Rug Restoration, before and after

A Teec Nos Pos/Two-Grey Hills type rug, before and after re-weaving.

Visiting with Marian Rodee

Among the many pleasures of this business is the company of accomplished scholars and experts in the field. We've recently enjoyed visiting with Marian Rodee here at Textival, and getting to absorb a small amount of her vast knowledge and experience with old Navajo rugs. Her books "Weaving of the Southwest" ( Schiffer Publishing Ltd), "Old Navajo Rugs" (UNM Press) and others are vital texts in the history of Navajo weaving scholarship. Marian almost single-handedly provided the bridge between earlier scholars (Amsden, Lummis...) and the current generation of writers and researchers (Wheat, Hedlund, Whitaker...), and helped make the Maxwell Museum at UNM an important institution in the study of Southwestern weaving. Hats off to Marian Rodee for all of her work promoting the Navajo weavers' art!

Monday, February 15, 2010

In the (Blue) State of Dogon

Like many of my colleagues I love to make pilgrimages to the other corners of the earth where textile traditions are alive and well. Mali is a blue state in more ways than one...Our search for indigo cloth eventually took us to Dogon Country along the rocky escarpments near the Burkina Faso border.

The Dogon region of Mali is noteworthy in almost every respect, including weaving and dying. The long, narrow, warp-faced cloth they weave is one of the oldest forms of textile production on earth, and is still practiced throughout Dogon. The cotton strips are sewn together into broad blankets then dyed in indigo vats, and are either used as-is or cut for garments.

Navajo Rug Restoration, before and after

Sometimes the biggest challenge (after color matching) is in hiding the broken warp ends. Success on both fronts here: