2011 Heard Museum Indian Market, A Walk in the Sunshine: Part I

Melissa Cody with Germantown weaving

Melissa Cody with her colorful contemporary Germantown design

Marilou and Martha Schultz

Marilou Schultz spins under the watchful eye of her mother, Martha Schultz

The Ornelas Family

From left, the tapestry weaving family of Michael Ornelas, Barbara Teller Ornelas and Sierra Ornelas

Click on any picture for a closer view

Phoenix, AZ The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce cranked up some of the best weather in memory for the 52nd Heard Museum Indian Market, which concluded yesterday.   It was warm, but not too warm, there were breezes but it was not windy and it was blessedly free of rain.  As you might expect, by afternoon the crowds were getting thick.  By arriving when the gates opened, I was able to get time to chat with many of the weavers there before other shoppers arrived.

The Market tends to put artists in similar locations each year, which helps to locate people without depending too much on the brochure.  Morris Muskett’s booth was my first stop and he had a selection of jewelry and small weavings that were very, very tempting.  Photographs of Morris work are shown exclusively on his web site, so be sure to visit him to see what he’s been working on.  Just don’t get too fond of that red spiny oyster pendant because I have my eye on it.

D.Y. Begay shared a booth with her twin sisters, Berdine Begay and Berdina Charley.  Each has a distinctive style that is eye catching and contemporary.  D.Y. uses her own vegetally dyed yarns for her work.  Her dye materials range from plants native to the Southwest to black beans from WalMart.  D.Y. has been traveling extensively in Central and South America and is trying to get the time to organize her pictures and other materials from her journeys.  You can see Berdine, Berdina, D.Y. and their work in the gallery below.

Marilou Schultz and her mother Martha were in the booth next to D.Y. and her sisters, so that was an easy stroll.  Marilou is not one to sit in a booth without doing something and she was busy spinning as her mom looked on (center picture above).  Marilou had a great assortment of handspun rugs and her variegated yarns.  You can also see more of Marilou’s work at her website and in the picture gallery below.

Last year, rain prevented me from getting a clear picture of Melissa Cody’s contemporary version of the Germantown Eyedazzler.  This year, she graciously posed with one of her smaller pieces as you’ll see at the upper left.  Melissa does a kind of blocking of the somewhat fluffy Germantown yarns that she uses by winding them into tight balls that she keeps under tension for up to a year before she uses them.   She had sold a larger piece that was more complex than the one that she is posing with.  Melissa is part of the growing group of younger weavers who pursue their weaving as fine artists while maintaining a full time career in other fields, in Melissa’s case in the allied field of museum curation.

Sierra Ornelas, Barbara Teller Ornelas‘ daughter is also part of this two career trend, living in Los Angeles and working as a writer for a television show.  Brother Michael, however,  is weaving full time and doing detailed framed small pieces.  Almost every weaver that I stopped to talk with had small “recession rugs” that reflect the effect of the economy and the determination of the weavers to adapt to it.  The Ornelas’ reported that they’d had a very good market and had very few pieces left on Sunday morning.

Leaving the Ornelas family, I stopped by Linda Taylor’s booth and she had some time to chat about her detailed tapestry work as well as her work as an illustrator.  Linda did the drawings for the book Wisdom Weaver by Jann Johnson.  The story details the process of weaving a Navajo rug and the love between a young girl and her grandmother.  The tale is told both in English and Navajo and is published by Salina Bookshelf, which specializes in books for the Navajo market.  You can see Linda with the book in the gallery below.

I went on to visit with Geneva Shabi, Brenda Spencer, TahNiibaa Naataanii, Phil Singer, Gilbert Begay, and Jason Harvey and I’ll write more about my visits with them on Wednesday.  I’ll leave you with the full gallery of the weavers and their work and we’ll have more of an in depth visit with each of them in  part two of this article.

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  1. Ann/redcheek2 on March 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you Mary for writing such an informative article and the ownderful pictures! You brought the Indian Market show to us and I was really bummed about not going. Thank you for the ownderful oictures. Todays artists are taking Navajo weaving to a whole new level and I really love it.

  2. theresa/fibercrone on March 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    These contemporary designs are breath taking. My sense is they take traditional designs to a higher or deeper level.