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Life Woven into Navajo Weaving: Southwest Skills Displayed

Rose Big Horse was asked to demonstrate her weaving skills at the Wupatki National Monument in Arizona recently. Her efforts and designs are part of a long tradition in her Navajo Tribal family.

Rose shows traditional family storm pattern

Rose shows traditional family "storm" pattern

Although her weaving time is confined to evenings and her spare time, the intricacy and proficiency of her work is exceptional. She learned the skill from her mother, who is a published author on weaving. Her mother’s special pattern is called the “storm” pattern. If you think that these works are easy, you would be wrong: it can take a year to produce one rug.

Her great grandfather, also known for his weaving proficiency, is “Big Horse the Warrior,” of whom a book is written, Bighorse the Warrior.

Rose Big Horse shows her weaving

Rose Big Horse shows her loom and her weaving

Rose’s wool comes from an uncle’s family farm, where sheep are still raised. The wool is carded (see photo) and then spun into the strands that later become the pillows, blankets and designs that are sold.

Rose moves quickly, demonstrating wool carding

Rose moves quickly, demonstrating wool carding

The quality, since the wool is derived from her family’s animals and the designs are individually woven, is exceptional. Rose sells her pillows for $300 per pair. A full-sized rug can be priced for as much as $10,000. However, the many hours of work just preparing the wool, dying the wool and weaving certainly make the finished product worth it!

Rose was missing a family reunion to volunteer at Wupatki National Monument. National Geographic magazine was filming her family reunion, taking place in Northern Arizona.

Rose does not currently have a Web site, but plans to get one up soon. Her contact information, if you would like more information on her weaving, is:

Keep looking for her designs on the Web! 

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