Learning Navajo Weaving at Richardson’s Trading Post

Navajo Weaving Boot Camp at Richardson's Trading Post in Gallup, NM

Our class with trader Bill Richardson at Richardson’s Trading Post in Gallup, NM.

I have made my mind up that I’ve got to get back to writing about Navajo weaving!  Did you ever get involved with a project that turned out to be a little bigger than you’d thought?  Well, I decided to make some architectural changes to the site and it turned out to be more of a total rebuilding project.  It took all my spare time for couple of months.  I got everything to the point where I was really happy with it and then last week, the developer of one of the major components announced that they won’t be supporting it after next year.  Sigh.  In meantime, people have told me that they missed the articles that I usually post, so any further site tinkering is going to take a back seat to getting caught up with everything that’s going on.  So there. 

A Navajo Weaving Class at Richardson’s Trading?   

Jennie Slick and I have been been doing classes in some of our favorite places.  When we’re in Window Rock, we always take students to Richardson’s Trading Post in Gallup, New Mexico.  If you’ve never been there, it’ll be hard for me to describe it but here goes.  Park your car on Historic Route 66 in Gallup.  If you’re lucky, there’s a spot outside but if not there is a free public parking lot nearby.  You’ll walk into the wooden floored main trading room and be dazzled by the jewelry that nearly fills the room.  Some of the work is by contemporary artists and some is vintage estate and pawn, but it can take hours to really see everything.  Carefully work your way over to the right and ask to see the rug room.    The staff will guide you back into another room that’s nearly as large as the one you’re in and you’ll see some of the most beautiful rugs on the market today.  Richardson’s rug buyer, Larry Fulbright, really works to get to know the weavers who bring their work here and he is always looking for the best quality. Richardson’s is also one of the best places to go if you’re looking for large rugs and by that I mean that you’ll see rugs in excess of 20 feet in length, huge by today’s standards.   That should take care of most of the day.  Try the Eagle Cafe next door for lunch (cash only).

Let’s Weave!

Richardson’s is celebrating their centennial in Gallup this year and we approached the family with the idea of doing a weaving class as part of the festivities.  They were quick to say yes and we were allowed to use one of their additional rug rooms as a classroom.  Inspired by floor to ceiling rugs and walls covered with art work, it couldn’t help but be a fantastic class.  Add visits with master weavers Vangeline Thomas and Lula Brown and a story telling session with trader Bill Richardson and it was, you guessed it, the Best Class Ever.  Just like all the others.  The picture gallery below should help prove that I’m not exaggerating!

We had so much fun that we will be back next year for the 101st birthday celebration from May 15-17.  Tuition for the three day class is $375.  Click here for more details and registration. 

Hagoshíí (so long for now)

Mary Walker

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