Weaving in Beauty Class and Tour May 2018
Pictures from Some of Our Previous Classes
A Navajo Weaving Class Like No Other: Where You Will Go
This Navajo weaving class is a seven day total immersion into weaving and modern Navajo life in the cultural center of the Navajo Nation. We stay in modern accommodations at the Quality Inn Navajo Nation Capital (In the Tony Hillerman books, it was the Navajo Nation Inn) in Window Rock, AZ. Part of the day will be devoted to learning Navajo weaving and another slice of our time will be spent exploring the weaving related attractions in the area. Our days typically start at 8 AM, and we call it quits at 9 PM. Weaving is done on a traditional loom with students seated in a chair. You may certainly sit on the floor if you would like to, but it is not a requirement. Our field trips include
- The historic Hubbell Trading Post
- R. B. Burnham Trading Co.
- Richardson’s Trading Co. (the Sistine Chapel of Navajo weaving)
- Lunch and/or dinner at Earl’s in Gallup, NM (you might complete ALL your Christmas shopping! Really!)
- Crownpoint Rug Auction
- Navajo Nation Museum
- Window Rock Tribal Park
- Canyon de Chelly
- Two Grey Hills Trading Post
- Toadlena Trading Trading Post
- Visits from and with weavers
All field trips are optional but darn near impossible to resist. We carpool our private vehicles for field trips. Generally, this means that we have our company van (7 passengers) plus one car driven by a student on each trip. If you are willing to drive, we’ll be glad to help with the fuel expense. Please let us know if you’re a potential driver for your session. Carpooling means that we don’t have to rent large vans, which are difficult for some students to access and are less safe in certain road situations. We are also able to be more flexible in our scheduling, destinations and itinerary by traveling in small groups. Most people drive only once or twice during class unless they prefer driving. Don’t worry about it if you don’t want to drive. It’s never been a problem and we’ll use Navajo Transit drivers if needed!
A Full Week to Learn
- Loom warping
- Diagonal, interlock and dovetail joins
- Elements of design
- Problem solving (limited to weaving related problems)
- Carding and spinning
- Rug finishing
- Adaptation of Navajo techniques to non-traditional patterns
- Vegetal dye techniques
Navajo made looms and tools will be available for purchase. We encourage local weavers to visit us in class, and we do adapt our itinerary to invitations and opportunities which arise during the week. Spouses, friends and significant others are encouraged to come along and are very welcome to join us for our field trips. There is a charge of $20 to cover the cost of Pizza Night. Those accompanying you may need to use a separate vehicle for field trips, so please plan accordingly. Tuition is $800, which includes the use of a loom and tools for the week and enough yarn to complete your first weaving. You will also receive a digital download of our book with rights to print one copy of it if you wish. Tuition also includes one group meal (pizza, salad and dessert). Our student to teacher ratio is one to four or five compared with one to 10 or 12 students that you may experience in other venues. Our teaching day extends from 8 AM to 9 PM, hours longer than the seven hour teaching day that is standard for most other classes. Housing Cost: $75 per day single occupancy, $82 per day double. Estimated cost of meals is around $30 per day. Breakfast is included in the hotel rate (and it’s edible). If you’d like to share a room, please let us know. We’ll try to pair you up with another student. No guarantees about snoring or sleepwalking.
Getting to Window Rock
Window Rock is located on the Navajo Nation, about 150 miles west of Albuquerque, NM and about 300 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. Amtrak provides train service to Gallup, NM, 24 miles away from Window Rock. The train arrives from Flagstaff, AZ at about 9 AM and from Albuquerque at about 7 PM. There is no train service from Phoenix. We will be glad to pick you up at the train with advance notice. Please note that there is no taxi service which runs between the train and Window Rock. If you are willing to provide a ride for another student from either Albuquerque or Phoenix, please let us know and we’ll try to match you up with someone who would like a ride.
Important Details: You’re Not in Chicago Anymore
Our class is held on the Navajo Nation, which is a sovereign entity. While on the Navajo Nation, we are subject to the laws of the Navajo Nation and alcohol is prohibited. The elevation in Window Rock is about 6500′ above sea level and you may find that you need a day or so to adjust to the altitude. The climate is high desert and temperatures can vary as much as 40 degrees over a 24 hour period. It is not unheard of for us to have snow during our May class and in fact, we’re kind of getting used to it. The average temperatures in May and October are 30-35 degrees at night and 60-65 degrees during the day. In August, the night time temperatures are 55-65 degrees and days average 80-90 degrees.
Jennie Slick is an accomplished fourth generation (at least) Navajo weaver who specializes in Burntwater and Germantown designs. She lives in Houck, AZ with several other family members. In addition to being a full time weaver, Jennie also provides care and support for her mother, Anna Ashley, through a home health care agency whose mission is to help elderly Navajo people stay in their homes. Jennie is a patient and encouraging teacher. She is hoping to make enough money teaching to be able to afford to keep something she weaves! Jennie is assisted by Mary Walker, a bilagáana (Anglo) weaver with 40 years of experience with Navajo techniques. Mary also serves as the class coordinator and organizer.