Navajo Weavers Today
Rug lovers are in for a special treat when they open the pages to Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today. Authors Lynda Teller Pete and Barbara Teller Ornelas, fifth generation rug weavers, take readers on a spectacular carpet ride through northwest New Mexico, where they get the opportunity to read about family members who firmly hold onto their Navajo weaving traditions. Throughout the narrative, readers get rare insights of the origins of the craft and in what direction it’s heading in the 21st century.
The book’s title refers to how weaving came to the Navajo people. According to Navajo tradition, the span of time—from creation to the present—consists of five worlds. Emerging from the second and the third world, the Diyin Dine’é, the Navajo Holy People instructed Spider Woman to weave her pattern of the Universe and teach the Navajos to weave harmony and beauty into their lives. Although she didn’t have the skills , she observed everything in her environment, including a spider weaving a web which became her plan for how she would weave the world. With her basic understanding of weaving, the Holy People instructed her to advance her skills with prayers, songs and ceremonial duties, helping Spider Woman acquire more skills and pass on the gift of weaving onto the world.
The authors share stories of their parents and relatives. Readers become acquainted with not just the weaver, but the heart and soul of each individual. Divided into seven parts, readers meet the authors’ mother and father who settled in Two Grey Hills, New Mexico and worked at the Two Grey Hills Trading Post. Her mother was a fourth-generation weaver in the Two Grey Hills style—natural, un-dyed wool, boasting intricate patterns that include a border, four matching corner elements and a large central full or belted diamond. The stories of older relatives whose rugs and wall hangings with their trademark colors grays and browns, white and black that are tied to trading post styles are juxtaposed with the style of young Navajo weavers whose work incorporates other artisitic new media and imagery that symbolizes what relevant in today’s society.
With 124 photographs, each section is illustrated by Joe Coca’s stunning photography. Portraits that reflect the spirit of the weavers, the intricacy of the rugs and wall hangings, and the spectacular terrain of northwest New Mexico.
Spider Woman’s Children provides more than just stories of weavers and pretty pictures of their work, it honors Navajo Americans, their craft traditions, and their important cultural contribution to textile art.
Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.