Weaving Arts of the North American Indian

Weaving Arts of the North American Indian

Weaving Arts of the North American Indian

Weaving Arts of the North American Indian


Examines all aspects of textile artistry and techniques of the native peoples of North America, from prehistoric times to the present. First providing a historical review of Indian culture, the book then goes on to discuss looms, dyeing, weaving technology and aesthetics.


Since the first edition of this book was written, many new developments have been introduced into the area of weaving. The Southwest has been particularly active in innovations, but many of the other parts of the continent have seen the renewal of older weaving expressions or new forms of weaving. It is particularly noteworthy that the Chilkat dancing blanket is undergoing a revitalization which not only involves the regular dancing blanket, but includes a revival of the rare Ravenstail blanket. And the expansion of Salish weaving engineered by the late Oliver N. Wells is now a thriving industry (page 117).

Some areas have not responded as enthusiastically, it is true; Spanish moss work in the Southeast is not an active area of weaving, and one would hope for more attention being given to yarn weaving in the Great Lakes region. With the exception of the Hopi, the Rio Grande Pueblos show little promise of reviving their past mastery of woven fibers, other than a few individual artists who have either attempted to revitalize an old tradition or struck out on their own. And even the Hopi men are weaving far less today as other pursuits occupy their time.

But the significant work of the Navajo continues unabated and indeed the weaving done by them today produces some of the finest textiles in Navajo history. New styles and designs are being woven, innovations in technique are being undertaken, and the production of fine work by Daisy and Priscilla Taugelchee, Julia Jumbo, Philomena Yazzie, Virginia Deal, and Angle Maloney, to name only a few, is testimony to the fact that Navajo weaving is alive and well. It is true that there are fewer weavers today, but the quality of their work has improved tremendously.

This, then, is a continuum of skills of the Native American weavers of North America and a further tribute to their mastery of the loom. In reworking the book, I have made some corrections to the earlier volume and added examples of new accomplishments in the field of weaving. The bibliography has been updated, to cover the remarkable increase in interest in Native American weaving, and some of the illustrations have been changed to better illustrate this dynamic. I have had the advice of many friends, notably the work of Joe Ben Wheat, the late Kate Peck Kent, Ann Pollard Rowe, Al Packard, Joe Tanner, Ann Lane Hedlund, and Sallie Lippincott Wagner. I have benefited measurably from the critique of . . .

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