A visit to Gallup
Our field trip for today was a visit to several of the trading posts and businesses which cater to the Native American clientele in Gallup, New Mexico, about 24 miles from where we are holding our class. We started our day at Glenn’s Bakery, which is strategically located across the street from Navajo Spirit, the Western fashion business owned by Navajo fashion designer Virginia Yazzie Ballenger. Since we’re a large group of ten, we went to Virginia’s in shifts so as not to crowd the showroom. From Navajo Spirit, we went to the largest Navajo rug room in the world at Richardson’s Trading Company. A visit to Richardson’s is always inspiring and rug buyer Larry Fulbright pointed out several of the more unusual rugs in the room right now. One of the interesting examples was a pictorial rug woven by Pauline Glasses of Chinle, AZ depicting a Native American church ceremony, the first I’ve ever seen with that subject matter.
Larry also showed us some unique Tree of Life weavings including a very large one by Eva Begay of Round Rock, AZ. This rug depicts not only birds but flowers and animals, which is a bit unusual in a Tree of Life weaving. Note the realistic fawns and ducklings at the bottom of the weaving, a hallmark of pictorial weaving in the area of northern Arizona around Dennehotso and Kayenta.
Leaving Richardson’s we walked to the Code Talker mural on Second St. in Gallup. Gallup has a very active program of municipal art and the Code Talker mural is one of the largest of many murals in town. I took a series of shots and used Photoshop to merge them into a panoramic view.
Here is a view of the inscription on the mural. The turquoise script in Navajo is a bit hard to read due to some weathering on the mural.
We also went to City Electric Shoes and some of us got belts, boots and moccasins to complement our Western garb. Louis Boniguidi, the owner of City Electric, talked with some of about his work with the Inter-tribal Ceremonial.
We went on to Perry Null’s Tobe Turpen Trading Post for a look at the rugs there, which were also wonderful and then had lunch with more shopping at Earl’s Restaurant, which is favored by the Gallup and Native American communities. Earl’s allows Native American vendors to sell their work to the diners and our group made some wonderful purchases. Ralph Richards, one of the members of the family that owns the restaurant, stopped by our table to talked about the development of the business and the vendor sales program.
After lunch, we stopped by Shush Yaz Trading and looked at more rugs, notably some beautiful vintage Crystal rugs. Back in Window Rock, we worked on our weaving and I’ll close with a picture of Bob Rosen working to complete the design portion of his rug. Bob expects to complete his rug tomorrow. Our class closes on Sunday morning and we’ll be doing a lot of weaving tomorrow!