How to Weave a Navajo Rug and Other Lessons from Spider Woman

How to Weave a Navajo RugHow to Weave a Navajo Rug and Other Lessons from Spider Woman

By Lynda Teller Pete and Barbara Teller Ornelas
Illustrations by Mychal Yellowman
Date of Publication: October 2020
Hardcover | 152 Pages
Retail Price: $29.95
ISBN: 9781734421705

How to Weave a Navajo Rug has detailed how-to instructions, meticulously illustrated by a Navajo artist, from warping the loom to important finishing touches. For the first time, master Navajo weavers themselves share the deep, inside story of how these textiles are created, and how their creation resonates in Navajo culture. This book is the only how-to book on Navajo weaving told by Navajo weavers. Their contribution to cultural understanding and the preservation of their craft is priceless.
Lynda Teller Pete and Barbara Teller Ornelas are fifth-generation Navajo weavers who have been weaving since they were young girls. Internationally acclaimed for their fine tapestry weaving, their lives and work have been featured in many publications and have been the subject of the Craft in America television program. Their weaving has been exhibited at galleries and museums throughout the world. Together, they teach Navajo weaving workshops at museums, galleries, and guilds, valuing the opportunity to serve as ambassadors for their Navajo culture and traditions.


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“This small book contains an abundance of information on the foundations of Navajo weaving. But equally important, Lynda Teller Pete and Barbara Teller Ornelas share the interconnections of weaving with the spirit and philosophy of balance in the Navajo universe and with the beauty of creating something by hand. In lieu of a class with these teachers, or in addition to, I highly recommend this book as a guide.” – Deborah Corsini  – READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW


“Fifth-generation weavers Ornelas and Pete (Spider Woman’s Children) offer experienced weavers inspiring instruction in the art of creating Navajo rugs. They first relate the craft’s origin story: the deity Spider Woman gave the skill to the Navajo people after she was taught to weave the universe by a spider god. Ornelas and Pete clarify that Navajo weaving was not borrowed either from the Pueblo or Europeans, as some historians posit. They describe the sheep that traditionally provided the wool, though they, and most fellow Navajo weavers, now use mill-spun yarn. Carding (combing and cleaning the wool) is consequently less important, but, they state, still a rewarding community activity, and a good way of “blending different colors of wool together to create a greater range of hues.” While also touching briefly on making blankets and tapestries, the authors spend most of the book on the rug project, providing instructions that are intricate, detailed, and, for those new to weaving, intimidating. They also include notes on cultural symbolism (the vertical yarn lines on the loom represent sky, lightning, clouds, and rain) and a smattering of humor (“having a warped sense of humor” helps when using a warp frame). Ornelas and Pete’s passion for their craft and their heritage results in a lovely and unique crafting resource.

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Release date: 10/01/2020 | Details & Permalink


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