Scottsdale, AZ The century old Toadlena Trading Post is located about 20 miles west of U.S. 491 in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, far enough off the beaten path to be a place that’s not often visited even when snow and cold aren’t a factor. That makes winter a good time of year for trader Mark Winter to pack the rugs up and travel. Last week, Mark and partner Linda Larouche visited the River Trading Post in Scottsdale, AZ with weaver Mary H. Yazzie. Mary likes to travel and with her daughter, Marilyn, she came along to share her weaving expertise with visitors. As Mary weaves, Marilyn is in constant motion, carding and spinning the wool to keep up with her mother’s progress.
Although commercial wool has replaced hand spun yarn for most Navajo weavers, the laborious process of shearing, washing, carding and spinning is still the standard in the Two Grey Hills area. Some weavers reduce the work load by adeptly matching their hand spun yarns with commercially spun black and white yarns (see the rug below by Rose Blueeyes), but others like Mary, Salina Dale and Edith Yazzie persist in producing an entirely hand spun textile, right down to the warp. The added labor, which quadruples the time required for production, makes Two Grey Hills area weavings some of the most precious and expensive in the world and some of the most beautiful. Below, you’ll see (left) a weaving by Rose Blueeyes (commercial and hand spun), at center, a tapestry grade (80 wefts or more per inch) hand carded and hand spun weaving by Edith Yazzie, and at right another hand spun and hand carded tapestry, this one with more of a contemporary design, by Salina Dale.
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There are always some pieces from Toadlena at the River Trading Post, so stop by and see them if you’re in Scottsdale. They are at 7033 E. Main St in Old Town. If you’re in the Four Corners area, be sure to visit Linda and Mark at Toadlena. If you’re there on June 18th, at 1:30 PM, you can attend Linda and Mark’s wedding! They’ll be tying the knot during the opening of their newest exhibit. Congratulations!
Hagoshíí (so long for now)
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