Today, our class started with loom warping and we had all eight warps done by noon, which is a real tribute to the students’ focus. Warping a Navajo loom is a complex process that requires attention and strength and Jennie Slick likes to have the students warp as a team of two so that each of them works on two warps. I’ll have pictures of the beginning of the participant weavings tomorrow. On warping morning, I need to help Jennnie in any way I can and I often find I don’t have any or many pictures of the process.
After lunch, we visited Burnham’s Trading Post where the students picked up more yarn and we had a great visit with Virginia Burnham, the wife of trader Bruce Burnham. Virginia talked about the early years of her marriage when she and Bruce were at Dennebito, The Gap and Cedar Springs. In 1971, she and Bruce were offered the chance to trade in the New Lands area near Sanders, Arizona. This area was added to the Navajo Nation as part of the settlement of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute settlement. It was after their move to Sanders that Bruce began his work with weavers and rug designs. The Burnhams even have wool custom spun for Navajo weaving and they have a large yarn room.
Although the Burnham rug room primarily features contemporary weaving, there are many vintage rugs there as well. The picture below shows Virginia Burnham discussing her career with the class as Laurie Rosen admires a Germantown Sampler on the counter.
After we left Burnham’s we visited Jennie Slick’s home where she demonstrated weaving on two large looms (see picture below). She is working on a 2’x3′ Storm Pattern and a 5’6″x7′ floor rug in Burntwater colors. It is truly amazing to see a large rug in the process of being woven. Jennie’s experienced hands are expert in transforming warp and weft threads into treasured heirlooms.
Tomorrow, we’ll visit St. Michael’s Mission and Hubbell Trading Post National Historic site.