Tempe, AZ One of the great challenges in the marketing of Navajo textiles is finding exposure for them in the broad market for fine crafts. The Navajo Nation is about the size of West Virginia, which means that it is larger than nine of the fifty states, but there are fewer than 20 places that are actually on the Navajo Nation where a weaver can sell work. This leads to a large supply of textiles and other artwork in being offered to trading posts in “border towns” like Flagstaff, AZ and Gallup, NM. You don’t have to be an economist to see that it’s a system that tends to minimize the price paid to the weaver. In saying this, I’m not trying to criticize traders. Many of the traders I know do their best to give weavers and other artists the best possible price and I know that some of them occasionally wonder where the money for the next rug, basket or piece of jewelry is going to come from. On the other side of the counter from the trader there is often a weaver who is desperate to sell a rug to raise cash and doesn’t see any alternative to accepting the best price obtainable from a trader. It’s no wonder that weavers are seeking other marketing venues and are selling directly to collectors where possible.
Alice Van Winkle Thompson is one of the weavers who is taking this route and the weaving above is available directly from Alice. It’s 16.5″x19″ of pure Navajo weaving excellence. Alice’s work is immaculately executed with razor straight sides and perfectly straight joins that are as flat as western Kansas. She uses Brown Sheep sport weight yarn that is re-spun to provide exactly the design definition and canvas-like hand that her work is noted for. Alice’s price on this weaving is $500 ($233 per square foot). You can contact Alice by phone at (505) 567-8308. In case you can’t reach Alice, you can contact her husband, Donald, at (505) 713-1156. Donald’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t have any financial interest in this transaction at all, and Alice isn’t paying me anything for this article. I just think that she’s a great weaver with a wonderful rug and (unless I win the Powerball) I can’t buy them all. If you buy the weaving, please let me know about your experience. This type of sale is very much on the cutting edge of marketing in Navajo weaving.
Alice has just started on a new piece, a complex Teec Nos Pos design. There’s a picture of it below and I’m sure she would be pleased to discuss it with you. Alice also does commission work.
Thanks to weaving aficionado Joe Newman for forwarding the information on Alice’s new weavings and for providing the great pictures!
Hagoshíí (so long for now)