Friday, November 4, 2011

How Long Does it Take to Weave a Navajo Rug?

Many people today take their clothing for granted.  The material for today's fabrics are either chemically created, as in the case of acrylic, or, if they are natural materials like cotton or wool, are harvested, cleaned, carded, spun and woven predominantly by machines.  Few people in the industrialized west have personally participated in the process of making fabric.  The Navajo and Pueblo people of the American Southwest keep the tradition of handmade fabric alive in their weaving.  Many Navajo rugs are still hand spun from local sheep and dyed with natural local plants.  Here is a general breakdown of the labor involved in making a hand-spun and dyed rug (3' x 5') taken from the book, Rugs and Posts by H.L. James.

Activity

Shearing (2 sheep)
Cleaning
Carding
Spinning
Washing the yarn
Plant gathering (5 colors)
Dyeing
Loom construction
Warping the loom
Weaving

Total hours
Hours

2
10
40
90
8
4
40
16
18
160

388

As you can see, this is a time intensive art form, but the results are nothing less than spectacular!

Yei Figures Rug, circa 1960's


Pictorial Rug by Hannah Iron

Cornstalk Yei Rug by Rose Benally

3rd Phase Chief Blanket by Rena Begay


No comments:

Post a Comment