© 2020 Katy's American Indian Arts

1817 Monroe Street  | Madison, Wisconsin | 53711
608.251.5451
Hours: Wed-Sat 11-5pm, Sunday/Monday/Tuesday by chance

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The Art of the Textile

The Navajo textile, commonly known as a Navajo rug, is a craft that is an art form. Each piece is one-of-a-kind from sheep to loom, and takes an average of 500 hours to create. Navajo women own their own sheep, shear them, and wash, card (clean) and spin the yarn. The dyeing process takes time and knowledge. Sheep come in three colors—white, brown and black. For the wonderful reds, golds, rust and blues, the weaver dyes as did her mother and grandmother, with vegetal plants such as lichen, onion skin, rabbitbrush, cochineal, wild walnut and more. Stringing an upright loom, she begins with the warp, weaving up from the bottom, and she must remember the unique & complicated pattern in her head as she works to finish it. Many Navajo rugs are named for the area the weaver is from. Hence the name Two Grey Hills, Ganado and Burntwater have become familiar terms.  Whether one prefers the natural sheep colors of the Two Grey Hills, the luscious reds of a Ganado or the earthen golds and rich browns of the Burntwater, the Navajo textile will catch your eye and warm your heart and home. From Oaxaca, Mexico and the Zapotec people come weavings so similar to the Navajo that it is only the different (European) loom, the patterns used and the lower prices that distinguish them from each other.