Chief Blankets are characterized by their design elements--alternating bands of brown and white--but also by their dimension: The width of the warping on the loom is greater than the length of those warps. These dimensions are seen in Chief Blankets and also in the smaller Pueblo and Navajo mantas and Women's Shoulder Blankets. Serapes and later most rugs were woven longer than the width of the warped loom.
The Germantown weaving shown below would not generally be called a Chief Blanket, but it was woven on a loom set up for Chief Blankets. It was woven at a time when a weaving's intended use as a blanket was fading, and the influence of the rug trade was increasing (it shows elements of the rug designs placed on the walls of the Hubbell Trading Post--a modern influence in the 1890s). To me it speaks to the process of innovation that weavers of the time engaged in; her last weaving on the same loom may have been a traditional Chief Blanket. Her next weaving on the loom might have combined the newer and older styles.
Our color-run removal process helps us appreciate the weaver's original intent:
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
One of today's projects, an unusually small Third-Phase Chief's Blanket (3ft x 4ft). It came to us deeply pink from washing; David is halfway through getting the pink out of the white stripes. While it's wet, you can see the various colors of warp material that are typically obscured. Certainly worth restoring.