Navajo weavers to display best work at the Heard

By Glenda Rae Davis
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, November 29, 2012

Text size: A A A

N avajo weavers from on and off the Navajo Nation will fill the Heard Museum's Central Courtyard in Phoenix for the 5th annual Navajo Weavers Marketplace this weekend.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, is intended to give the weavers the opportunity to lecture, buy, sell and demonstrate all that is Navajo weaving.

Although a schedule is currently not available, a lecture by Anne Lane Hedlund is scheduled. Hedlund is the author of several Navajo weaving books and will present about contemporary weaving.

Former Navajo Nation President Peterson Zah is scheduled to attend the event and discuss his new autobiography called "We Will Secure Our Future: Empowering the Navajo Nation."

Additional highlights include dyeing, carding, spinning and weaving rug demonstrations and other lectures on collecting. There will also be book signings and films playing throughout the day.

Navajo weavers will be allowed to demonstrate and sell their rugs at the retail price, according to Florence Riggs, 50, of Sand Springs, Ariz.

Riggs, who will be showcasing and selling her pictorial rugs, has attended the event for the past three years.

"I've gone to traders to sell my rugs and I have to sell them at wholesale," said Riggs in a phone interview with the Times. "This market is one of the ways we're able to sell our rugs directly to the collector at retail price."

Riggs added that the mingling of the weavers from different areas is also a chance to for her to learn about other styles of rugs.

"The event gives the weavers a chance to meet one another and talk about all the different rug styles," said Riggs, who has been weaving for 28 years. "Weaver's rugs can be put into certain categories, like pictorial, wide ruins, Two Grey Hills, but each individual rug is different and unique. I think the differences are wonderful and this gives us the chance to come together."

Riggs will be attending the event with her sister, Jane Hyden, who will be demonstrating pictorial weaving.

For Barbara Teller Ornales, 57, the marketplace gives her and her son the opportunity to shine as weavers.

"Because this event is only for weavers, we don't have to worry about other types of artists stealing the spotlight," said Ornales, who is Tabaaha, born for To'aheedliinii. "The event also gives young weavers and older weavers a great place to meet and learn from one another. Personally, it gives me a chance to see all my friends."

Ornales, who mainly does Two Grey Hills rug designs, said that over the five years the marketplace has occurred there has been an increase of weavers' attendance.

"When we first started there were only about 15 weavers and last year there was over 60," said Ornales. "There has been an increase of collectors as well."

Ornales's son, Michael Teller Ornales, 27, will be demonstrating with his mother how to weave the Two Grey Hills design.

Information: Chastity DeGuzman at 602-251-0215 or email

Back to top ^