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Old 05-12-2008, 05:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lovehound View Post
Yeah, Two Grey Hills! Thanks for refreshing my memory. I haven't thought about it for about two years, last time I saw it.

I don't know if I will collect any big collection, but I sure want at least one, for use as a wall hanging in my living room. I'm sure I'll get hooked though, and need one for my bedroom soon after. Maybe by then I'll be living in NM or AZ and at least not have to drive as far.
Prowl around a bit at estate/garage/yard sales, etc. and you might collect a nice one for very reasonable money. Learn what to look for...there are a few sure signs to tell the difference between Navajo and well made Mexican rugs like Zapotecs, for example. Get a good book.
A friend of mine just got 5 nice small wall hanging rugs at a church rummage sale...the guy who sold them to him said "Oh they're just some Chinese copies or something." Wrong, wrong, wrong. Gary didn't know for sure and showed them to me. Every one was genuine Navajo..Two Grey Hills, Storm pattern, a Ganado...on and on...all real and all worth a lot more than the ten bucks a piece that he paid. (he probably got a grand or so worth of nice small wall hangings.) After I told him the good news he went back to the sale and gave them an extra hundred bucks....they were floored!
Anyway, they're out there for the hunting, plus its sooo much fun to unearth a treasure.
As my wife tells me when I find a goodie: even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while, ya just gotta look.
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:00 PM
 
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Wow! That's quite a story! Yeah, I'm sure almost any genuine Navajo rug is worth $100-$200 just for the small ones.

How about "The Woven Spirit of the Southwest" by Don and Debra McQuisiton? Yeah, okay, probably never heard of it. I keep my copy at the Los Angeles Public Library. I didn't get my liking of Two Grey Hills there though, I got that by going through rugs at trading posts in UT.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:06 PM
 
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It's a story often repeated...usually by careful, sharp-eyed and hardworking treasure hunters, which I hope and imagine myself to be as well. My floors are graced by many Navajo rugs of all sizes, but few of which I paid more than 100 bucks for. Years of hunting, snooping, digging thru piles of crap-ola (a technical treasure hunters term) and generally poking about.
The Woven Spirit book is beautiful and has illustrations of many fine rugs and beautiful places.
My personal favorites tend more toward the technical: the old but still very useable Navajo Rugs: A guide by Don Dedera. I think this may have also been republished or reworked under a different title, but Mr. Dedera knows his stuff. I also like The Navajo Weaving Tradition, 1650 to Present by Alice Kaufman/Christopher Selser, which has some closeups of weaving details that can be extremely helpful. Genuine Navajo Rugs by Noel Bennett is also great. None of these books are new, but there are some new ones that are very good. The old books can usually be found for relatively cheap prices.
When looking for silk purse in a pile of sows ears there are a few simple things that can really separate the contenders from the pretenders. Selvedge or Selvege and lazy lines are two important ones. Edge warp is another. Rugs with more than two cords running lengthwise (the warp) at the edges are normally not Navajo. Rugs with one generally are if other details confirm it. Read more about this and about the easily seen Lazy Lines. They'll tell you a lot. The old catchphrase "God is in the details" holds true for Navajo weavings. Many important details are not that hard to find, once you know what to look for.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule....and there is no such thing as a standard Navajo rug, no factory norm that tells one absolutely what is true, because each one is made individually, slowly, with a design that goes right from the weavers heart and mind to the wool at hand. It's complicated...but fascinating.
Another great resource are the folks who own those trading posts. They know a lot, and usually are pleased to share what they know. Pick their brains.
Traders, in fact, are the only reason that Navajo weaving has survived into the 21st century. They've played a large role in providing a market and finding customers for the Navajo weaver for well over 100 years, and without that market the weaving tradition would have succumbed to factory made blankets and rugs long ago.
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tecpatl View Post
I
My personal favorites tend more toward the technical: the old but still very useable Navajo Rugs: A guide by Don Dedera... The Navajo Weaving Tradition, 1650 to Present by Alice Kaufman... Genuine Navajo Rugs by Noel Bennett is also great. ...

Traders, in fact, are the only reason that Navajo weaving has survived into the 21st century. They've played a large role in providing a market and finding customers for the Navajo weaver for well over 100 years, and without that market the weaving tradition would have succumbed to factory made blankets and rugs long ago.
Thanks!!! I found not only the the Bennett, Dedra and Kaufman books, but yet another by Bennett ("Navajo weaving way : the path from fleece to rug") and also decided to read my own reference again. (All reserved at the Los Angeles Public Library, something I'll miss upon leaving L.A.)

Who knows, maybe I'll be inspired to take another visit out there this summer. I wasn't planning to, but my new NM and AZ friends at CD are drawing me towards a sooner look into NM and AZ. I need to see Tucson (first time), Albuquerque (second time), a very desired Santa Fe (second time), Las Cruces (first time) and maybe some other places including trying to find my trading post which I think is in UT.
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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Noel Bennett has written a great deal on the Navajo, after living in their culture for some time. She's a great resource about crafts, customs and lifeways. Glad you found them!
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Thanks to you too Tecpatl, for showing me the way. I don't know how I'll avoid a trip to Indian lands this summer.
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:35 PM
 
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Start your hunt a lot closer to home...estate and yard sales, local auctions disposing of estates, 2nd tier antique places, junk shops, etc. You'll probably find Nav. rugs if you get in there and look.
As you can tell, I love rootin' around for goodies. It works, as my house full of Navajo and Rio Grande textiles can attest.
Good luck and sharp eyes!
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:55 PM
 
Location: phila. pa
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Near Gallup- In Sanders Arizona- Burnham Trading Post- Best Navajo Weavings And Prices. Bacich
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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I'll agree, Bacich. Bruce Burnham is a great guy and a huge supporter of Navajo weavings and weavers. He's getting some talented people off into new and beautiful directions with their weaving designs and colors, etc. Burnhams is a must stop for quality thru and thru.
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Old 06-08-2008, 05:03 PM
 
Location: phila. pa
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DEAR tecpati, HE GOT THE IDEA TO DO NEW GERMANTOWN WEAVINGS WITH THE 50 OR SO WEAVERS THAT HE WORKS WITH. HE CAME TO PHILA. AND FOUND THE LAST MILL (WILDE YARNS). THEY RECREATED THE SAME YARNS FROM THE 1800'S. THERE WAS AN EXHIBIT IN PHILA. A FEW YEARS AGO AND THAT'S HOW I MET BRUCE. MY FAMILY OWNED THE ORIGINAL MILLS THAT SENT THE YARN TO BASTO REDONDO. BRUCE IS A GOOD GUY. BACICH
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