Navajo Indian Weaving

Navajo Indian weaving is actually a very fine art. The people of Navajo learned how to weave from their neighbours who were the Pueblo Indians, with some help from those who are not Indians as well. Without the help of those who were part of this discovery, this great art may not have been known as the great art it is known for today.

The teachers

According to the natives of Navajo, a deity they revered as the Spider Woman was the one responsible for teaching them how to weave. Moreover, they said that the first loom in their area was from the sky and that the tools used for the weaving process were crystal, sunlight, shells, and lightning. Actually, the truth was that the Pueblo Indians were the ones who taught the Navajo natives how to weave.

Cultivation of cotton

The Pueblo natives who lived in the Northern part of New Mexico were starting to cultivate even more cotton in 1300 AD after they realized that cotton was best for weaving. They skillfully practiced fingerweaving and even learned how to properly use the back strap loom which even originated from the tribes of Mexican India.

Weaving

Back then, weaving was regarded as one of man’s common activities in most pueblos. They proceeded with the weaving processes in the kiva, which is a ceremonial room. Actually, this ceremonial room is merely a cramped space that further inspired the invention of the upright loom.

From cotton to wool

When the Spaniards arrived with their Churro sheep back in the sixteenth century made them decide to use wool as their weaving material instead of the usual cotton. The Pueblo Indians were one of the first ones to ever start weaving wool instead of cotton. In only a short time, the natives of Navajo learned this from their neighbours and started to practice this new method of weaving as well.

The Pueblo rebellion

There was a rebellion back in 1680, and it intensely had great influences on how the local Indians lived their lives. However, weaving still continued to evolve with a lot more designs.

It was around this time that the plain tapestry technique started to be quite famous. Other patterns that were popularly used were diagonal twills, herringbone, and diamond. With wool, seamstresses could now come up with shoulder blankets, dresses, shirts, belts, door hangings, saddle blankets, hair ties, blankets, and kilts.

From men to women

When weaving was first practiced, many looked at it like it was a man’s work. In fact, back then, the men were the ones who could be found weaving. Now, however, weaving is something a woman does.

Lazy lines

Moreover, the women of Navajo even discovered a certain “pause” in their techniques which somehow came up with what they referred to as “lazy lines”. These lazy lines are merely diagonal lines that are made across the horizontal wefts.

After some time, a lot of weavers were already doing this particular add-on to their certain technique in order to produce terraced lines and some other design elements. With the lazy lines, more colors can also be used.