Ways to Improve Your “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” Essay: Don’t Miss These Exhibits!

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The Generations exhibit runs through January 23, 2010 at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AZ.

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Generations exhibit curator Mark Winter speaks at the exhibit opening

Two inspiring weaving exhibits are taking place over the next few months and you’ll want to visit them both if you can possibly do it.  The Generations exhibit from Toadena Trading Post runs through January 23, 2010 at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AZ, and the Diamonds, Dreams and Landscapes exhibit at the Colorado University Natural History Museum in Boulder goes through May 30, 2010 with the exhibited pieces changing three times over the duration of the show.

Generations represents 20 years of work by exhibit curator Mark Winter.   As he worked to identify weavings with weavers and families, he documented clan and family relationships as well as weaving patterns and techniques.  The exhibit consists of 32 panels holding over 300 rugs, each panel representing a family/clan grouping, which is documented with the panel.  This is a far more detailed approach than I’ve ever seen in any exhibit and allows a level of textile analysis that is unparalleled because of Mark’s concentration on identifying the weavers of pieces as well as the techniques used.  Mark refers to this as giving credit to the weavers and there is video footage from Clara Sherman and other weavers to add to the intpretative nature of the exhibit.

The exhibit was originally hung at Mark’s Toadlena Trading Post, but has been expanded for the larger available space at the Navajo Nation Museum.  The large exhibit space also allows the observer and scholar to appreciate the impact of the textiles from different perspectives.

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One of the documentation panels at the Generations exhibit.

 

The Diamonds, Dreams and Lanscapes exhibit explores the sweep of Navajo weaving from the Joe Ben Wheat collection at Colorado University’s Museum of Natural History.  Exhibit curator Judy Newland has arranged 20 to 30 selections for each cycle.  The curent installation represents the diamonds phase of the exhibit and concentrates on contemporary weavers and their design processes.  I don’t have any pictures from the exhibit yet (that’s a hint to those of you in the Boulder, Colorado area), but I will be trying to get there to see the current phase before it closes on October 1.   The second exhibit cycle, Landscapes, will run through February 4, 2010 and the final phase will be open from February 5 through May 30, 2010.

Now see how much better that essay’s going to be?

Hagoshíí (so long for now)

Mary Walker

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