I have always had a strong fascination for and affinity with Navajo rugs, so I was delighted that Marilyn Greaves would be presenting a program to our guild on weaving in the Navajo tradition last night. Angela and I traveled down together, which made the ride seem very short, and the program was well worth it.
Marilyn has been weaving in traditional Navajo style for something like two decades and teaching her weaving techniques for the past 12 years. She lives in Fair Oaks, a suburb of Sacramento, and will be demonstrating at the Sacramento Weavers and Spinners Guild show this weekend, if you happen to be in the area and able to stop in... it will be worth it!
Here's a photo showing two different sizes of the looms she makes and sells, incorporating both traditional weaving features and modernizations (especially the three turnbuckles to tension the weaving at the top, which is both sturdier and easier to manage than traditional rope lashing). The weaving in front was started this past weekend... she puts the speediest knitters to shame!
Marilyn showed us one smaller rug that she had made entirely from her own handspun, but then confessed that her passion is the weaving and that she buys most of her (Churro) rug yarns from Burnham's Trading Post, all vegetal-dyed. She explained some of her techniques and described what she covered in the workshops she co-teaches with Mel Silva.
One of the interesting things that .... described was attending the Crownpoint Rug Auction, which takes place monthly in Crownpoint, New Mexico, linking artist and consumer directly. I hope someday to be able to spend time in the Four Corners area and attend it in person!
Looking at the looms made me nostalgic, as my first construction project, where I went out and bought the wood and assembled something following plans, was two Navajo looms that my roommate and I constructed for ourselves when I was 21. I did manage to weave several inches, using my own handspuns as weft, including some natural-colored yarns, and some vegetable dyed, but the wool moths and carpet beetles took their toll on that sample piece... nice to reminisce, enjoy her beautiful work and speculate on whether weaving will ever return to my life.