A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions
Aug. 18, 2024 - Nov. 25, 2018
On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest Mexican-inspired Saltillo serapes, c. 1880, to mid-20th century pictorial rugs. Featuring a dozen items from the Museum’s Native American ethnographic collection – some of which have never been publicly exhibited – the exhibition will be on display in the Bantle Lecture Gallery through November 25, 2018.
Navajo rugs are unique because their warp (the vertical strings on a loom) is one, long continuous piece of wool thread. Once the warp is set on the loom, the size of the rug cannot be altered. This weaving method requires the weaver to plan the design and pattern of the rug to fit precisely into the predetermined length of the rug.
The ability to conceive and execute two-dimensional designs in extraordinary patterns and colors set Navajo weavers apart from the creators of other Native rugs and blankets. Knowledge of this traditional process is an important cultural tradition that has been maintained through intergenerational instruction and mentoring despite the obstacles of displacement, discrimination and isolation experienced by the Navajo Nation.