Tempe, AZ Up until horse accoutrements like saddle blankets, cinches and bridles were commercially available, Navajo weavers produced these items themselves, skillfully winding their warp threads between the necessary hardware, using it at the end of the warp instead of a rod. Cinches virtually disappeared until the late 20th century when weavers like Roy Kady in Teec Nos Pos, Sandra Black in Monument Valley and Jay Begay in Hardrock began to weave them based on the memories and descriptions of their grandparents and a few surviving remnants of earlier textiles.
Jay Begay had the two example horse cinches above at last year’s Sheep is Life Celebration in Tsaile, AZ. The cinch being woven is a diamond point twill, requiring four sheds rather than the usual two. The second cinch is a more familiar two shed patterned weaving. If you would like to see more from Jay, check out his Facebook page, Jay’s Navajo-Churro Lamb and Wool. Jay’s is a working sheep camp. They also “have cattle and a few horses. Chickens, guineas, dogs, cats, donkeys and a llama also live here.” In addition to Facebook, you can also contact Jay by email.
If you are interested in learning the newly revived art of cinch weaving, Roy Kady will be doing a class in it at the Sheep is Life Celebration Workshops in Tsaile, AZ on June 20-21. You can read more about the the class and register here. As you can see from the pictures above, you don’t need a fancy loom!
Hagoshíì (so long for now)