19th Century Navajo Weaving at ASM

Late Classic blanket, Navajo, 1865-1875. Handspun, raveled cochineal/lac-dyed bayeta, indigo blue, raveled vegetal/green wool. 82.5X52.25". Cat. No 22078

19th Century Navajo Weaving at ASM

Three weavers and one tapestry scholar discuss the 19th century blankets from the museum's permanent collections. Join them as they comment on the selections. 

Sierra Ornelas, Barbara Ornelas, Michael Ornelas
Dr. Ann Lane Hedlund

Barbara, Sierra, and Michael Ornelas are three artists at different stages of their careers, linked by their mutual respect and dynamic sharing of ideas. All three are award-winning weavers of fine tapestries in the Two Grey Hills style. In this creative family, traditional Navajo values combine with fresh outlooks and contemporary approaches to art and life.

Dr. Ann Lane Hedlund is a cultural anthropologist and well-known author who has worked with southwestern weavers and museum collections for three decades. She and the Ornelas family have known each other since the 1980s.



“Because the Navajo reservation is so big, our stories are similar but each is a little different. For what people know in New Mexico, people in Arizona have a different version. So, it's really hard to pinpoint the true meaning behind any particular rug. Rugs are like a verse in the Bible—there are 365 ways of interpreting one verse; Navajo weaving is like that, too. Every rug here is completely different and made by an individual, but they all fall under one category—Navajo weaving. This is just like people—we are all Navajo, but we are each different. Our weaving reflects individual differences, too.” —Barbara Ornelas, Master Weaver


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