Rug of the Day: Room Sized Klagetoh Red by Louise M. Cly
Tempe, AZ Because of the economics of large rugs woven in parts of the world with low wages, very few large Navajo rugs are woven today. This 8’x12′ rug was one of those consigned to the Friends of Hubbell Native American Arts Auction last September and carried an asking price of $19,000, which it did not receive that day, although I suspect that the weaver, Louise M. Cly, has been able to sell it for a lower price in the past few months. At 96 square feet, the asking price was just shy of $200 a square foot and would have netted the weaver just over $17,100 had it sold in that venue. One of my friends says that a master weaver (and Louise is clearly in that class) can weave about a square foot a day, so figuring that the weaver puts in an eight hour day, this would net her a little over $20 per hour for the skill involved in producing a masterpiece like this. Hardly a fortune, especially considering that the weaving was probably spread over a longer time frame, but enough to make weaving a viable source of income in an area where conventional jobs are scarce. The risk to the weaver in a piece of this size, though, is considerable. There is at least $300 to $400 worth of yarn involved and absolutely no guarantee of a payday. That is why most large rugs woven today are commissioned pieces that involve payments to the weaver during the time that the rug is woven and why it was surprising to see it appear at auction.
The design is called a Klagetoh Red, a cousin of the more famous Ganado Red. Klagetoh is a community about 20 miles south of Ganado and the weavers there use gray as the background to black, dark red, gray and white design elements in contrast to the dark red background of the Ganado Red. This particular Klagetoh Red design is called a Snowflake Pattern becuse it is composed of squared elements that resemble snowflakes from a distance. The picture at left will help you to appreciate the scale of the rug. Bruce Burnham and Kary Dunham, standing in front of the rug, are both over six feet tall. The picture was taken using a Canon G9 camera on September 18, 2010 at the Friends of Hubbell Native American Arts Auction. The next Friends of Hubbell auction is on May 14, 2011. R.B. Burnham and Co. are the auctioneers.
Hagoshíí (so long for now)
Mary, thank you so much for these “rugs of the day”. This is incredible! Your descriptions and historical background are incredibly informative and interesting.