Wide Ruins All Vegetal Dyes
Wide Ruins Navajo Weaving woven with all Vegetal Dyes. Size 28″ x 47″.
Starting in the 1940s, Sally and William Lippincott, owners of the trading post at Wide Ruins, Arizona worked with the weavers in their area to develop highly detailed banded patterns rendered in vegetal dyes. Most Wide Ruins rugs are characterized by very fine, tightly-spun yarns and a flat, even weave. They feature the full range of new vegetal colors including soft green, mauve, terra cotta, and pale purple, pink and blue as well as the more common yellow, gold, brown, and tan. Black is rare in Wide Ruins weavings. The designs look like finely rendered, small-scale versions of Chinle and Modern Crystal rugs, and often incorporate narrow bands of the wavy line motif.
A Guide to Navajo Rugs
There is an ageless beauty to Navajo weaving. Navajo weavings are many things to people. Above all else, Navajo weavings are masterworks, regardless of whose criteria of art is used to judge them. They are evocative, timeless portraits which, like all good art, transcend time and space. Navajo weaving has captured the imagination of many not only because they are beautiful, well-woven textiles but also because they so accurately mirror the social and economic history of Navajo people. Succinctly, Navajo women wove their life experiences into the pieces.
Navajo people tell us they learned to weave from Spider Woman and that the first loom was of sky and earth cords, with weaving tools of sunlight, lightning, white shell, and crystal. Anthropologists speculate Navajos learned to weave from Pueblo people by 1650. There is little doubt Pueblo weaving was already influenced by the Spanish by the time they shared their weaving skills with Navajo people. Spanish influence includes the substitution of wool for cotton, the introduction of indigo (blue) dye, and simple stripe patterning. Besides the “manta” (a wider-than-long wearing blanket), Navajo weavers also made a tunic-like dress, belts, garters, hair ties, men’s shirts, breechcloths, and a “serape-style” wearing blanket.