Thursday, December 26, 2013

Rug Show 2013 - Weaving Demonstrations

by John Aldrich

The Elders come to the show primarily to sell their rugs and crafts. But they also spend time sharing their unique skills and creative vision with the audience. Prior to the show opening to the public there are demonstrations for school children, and during the show, there are several opportunities for people to see the weavers at work and to hear the stories of the rugs.

Most of the weavers still have their own sheep, and many still prepare their own wool for weaving. This is a time-intensive and laborious process which is little practiced by the younger generations of weavers who find that commercial yarn is much more convenient.

While other weavers work at their looms, a few of the oldest Elders show portions of the process that leads to finished wool that can be used in weaving rugs. Elsie Shay demonstrates carding where fine-toothed combs separate the wool into strands.

The raw wool is then worked into loose coils in preparation for spinning. These are the hands of Ruth Benally.

Using a hip spindle, May Shay is working the wool into a finer strand that can be used for weaving.

Katie Furcap shows a simple but effective way to coil and uncoil the wool.

The first weaving demonstrations take place on Thursday and Friday for over 600 school children before the show opens to the public. Rena Robertson works at her loom in front of a sea of fascinated young faces.

Elizabeth Clah is working on a twill pattern. This is a more complicated technique of weaving than traditional rug patterns.

During the weaving demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday, Elsie Benale and Ella Benally present and describe a rug from each of the weavers.

Lena Cowboy's hands work instinctively as she adds new lines of weft to her rug.

Anna Jackson's rug is a conventional pattern. It is remarkable that weavers in their 80's and 90's can still weave so beautifully.

Louise Reed worked on this Yei rug during the various demonstrations throughout the show. It remained unfinished on Sunday and will be completed later.

1 comment:

  1. Always fascinating to see the weaver's skills. I wonder how many rugs have been sold by ANE over the years?