We had a wonderful full day of weaving in Window Rock. Several of the participants are working on patterns incorporating a design element that we have dubbed the Window Rock Wave. You can see the wave pattern in the piece Liz Munk is working in on the picture at right. The teal and pink wavy bars look curved, but it’s all an optical illusion created by starting a diagonal unit with a five warp base at intervals of odd numbers of warp threads (15 warps in this case). A smooth diagonal line is woven from both sides of the base, and then the top of the wave is closed when the interval between the waves is five warps. We started working on figuring out how to do the pattern two years ago when Jean Walbridge brought a picture of a vintage weaving incorporating the pattern to our first August weaving class and wondered how to recreate the look. The picture Jean had was very detailed and we could count the warps that the weaver had used to create the pattern. The effect of the curve is fascinating, and almost every weaver who sees it wants to try it, but so far only us bilagaana’s (Anglo weavers) have used it in weavings. We’ll see if it catches on in any Navajo woven pieces, but that can take awhile. The first time any new pattern or colorway is used, it’s a real gamble for the weaver unless the piece is a commissioned one. Imagine betting the groceries that a new pattern or color combination will find a market. The willingness of weavers to do it, however, is one of the things that keeps Navajo weaving vibrant. This area of style evolution is really interesting to me, so look for more posts on it. If you’ve got thoughts on this, please post a comment or start a thread over on the Weave Got to Talk forum.
Late this afternoon, we went over to the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial, which ended this evening. We were too late to see the exhibit hall, but we had fun watching some of the powwow proceedings and enjoyed watching some of the teen dancers. One girl’s Fancy Dance shawl caught our eye, and I got a nice picture of it as she made her way around the arena.