Meet the Weaver: Lillie Dugi

Lillie Dugi

Weaver Lillie Dugi at her loom (photo courtesy of Jim David)

Tempe, AZ Jim David, who often stops by the web site to catch up on the weaving news, recently contacted me to share pictures of two rugs woven by his aunt, Lillie Dugi of Cameron, AZ.  Jim is assisting his aunt in the sale of her work.  Contemporary weavers often seek marketing assistance from relatives who live in large urban areas to expand the audience for their work and increase their weaving income.  You can see a snapshot of Lillie working at her loom above.

Storm Pattern rug by Lillie Dugi.

The larger of the rugs that Lillie is selling is a Storm Pattern, very detailed and skillfully woven with many design elements augmented by intricate multiple outlines.  It is 30″x40″ and is priced at $1050, although Jim will relay serious offers to his aunt.  The Storm Pattern is very closely tied to the lore of the Navajo homeland (Diné Bikeyah) and to the idea that within the boundaries of the Four Sacred Mountains, everything needed for the harmonious life of the Navajo people may be found.

Chinle weaving by Lillie Dugi

Jim is also helping Lillie to sell the banded Chinle patterned rug above.  Lillie dyed several of the colors with native plants.  She also handspun the gray wool that’s used in this rug, skillfully matching the size and twist with the commercial yarns used in the remainder of the rug.   The pattern is quite detailed for a Chinle design and is almost in the Crystal class of banded rugs.   The rug is 26″x52″  in size and Lillie has priced it at $650, but will consider serious offers.

Here is a brief introduction that Jim helped Lillie to translate for you so you can get to know her a little better.
Yá’át’ééh (Hello!)  My clan is T si’naajinii (Black Streaked-Wood People).   I am born for To’dichii nii’ (Bitter Water People).   My Maternal Grandfather is Kinyaa’ yanii’ (Towering House Clan).   My Paternal Grandfather is Ta’baa’ ii ( Water’s Edge people).  My name is Lillie Dugi and I am from Cameron, AZ.

I was raised on the Navajo Reservation just North of Cameron, AZ.   My parents were traditional people where raising and caring for animals was a way of life.   Sheep was a staple.   I started carding wool at age 6 and started actual weaving on a small scale at 12.   That’s 60 plus years.   My Grandmother and my Mother taught me all types of weaving but my favorite is the Storm pattern.   All patterns, no matter personal deviations, have a meaning.

I have done other patterns like the Chinle and regular saddle blanket type designs.   Right now I am starting on a Double-Sided saddle blanket at the request of a relative.  All weavings involve a lot of preparations and are done with reverence.  Both the Storm Pattern and Chinle styles are all made from commercial yarns that were re-spun by me. and some yarn that was spun by me from wool shorn from my own sheep  The Storm Pattern that I have for sale right now is tightly woven and and uses mostly commercial dye.   The Chinle pattern is also tightly woven and uses a mixed flavor of commercial and plant/seed dyes with a contrast of colors.  Warp for both rugs is 10 and weft is 32 approximately.

Thank you for looking.

And Lille, thank you for sharing.  Thanks also to Jim for showing me the rugs and sharing stories about both his aunt and mother.  You can contact Jim David by email at screamingeagle5@yahoo.com.  Let’s sneak one more look at Lillie at her loom.  In this picture, she is in the finishing stages of weaving the rug, getting ready to send it out into the world almost in the way that a child leaves home.
Lillie Dugi

Lillie Dugi works at her loom at her home near Cameron, AZ

Hagoshíí (so long for now)
Mary Walker

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