Monday, November 30, 2009

ANE In The Navajo Times

During the recent rug show, the Navajo Times sent a reporter and photographer to the event to create an article for the paper. You can see it here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rug Show Pictures Online

An event as extensive as the Rug Show is difficult to represent in just a few pictures. Nevertheless I have made an effort to do so with a slide show of  71 images. This can be accessed through the Rug Show Page of the web site or you can click here to go directly to the pictures.
A few of these pictures were used in recent blogs, but this collection will hopefully provide a more comprehensive view of the show.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Demonstrating Navajo Culture

by John Aldrich
There are many aspects to the annual rug show, and some of them are not apparent to the typical show visitor. The school demonstration programs are one such activity. Organized by Kathleen Mercer, grade-school classes are invited to the show on Thursday and Friday before the show is open to the public. Up to 200 students at a time come for three separate programs in which the Elders and their families demonstrate a variety of aspects of Navajo culture for the children. In addition to watching, students also have a chance to actually try their hand at a variety of things such as weaving, corn grinding, learning a few words of Navajo, and having their hair tied in a traditional Navajo hair bun.

Here students gather around Elders at their looms.  The small loom in the center is used to give interested children a chance to try weaving.

Anna Jackson of Teesto is at her loom providing a chance to see actual rugs being created.

Leonard Holiday of Oljato shows a traditional ceremonial basket and explains its meaning and significance.

Robin Field-Williams is holding a model hogan with its roof removed. This gives students an opportunity to see what a traditional Navajo home is like.

Following a demonstration of corn grinding this young man has a chance to try it himself under the direction of Marty Whitehair.

Girls with longer hair can have it put up in a hair bun by Delorcita Francis of Round Rock.

At the conclusion of the programs children are treated to Navajo fry bread made by Mary Lou Gleason of Teesto.

In addition to being a unique educational and culturally enriching opportunity, the kids have a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rug Show Apron Party

by John Aldrich
Along with the serious business of selling rugs there's always time for some light-hearted activities at the show. Over the past several years the Elders and their families have been treated to a variety of entertaining games such as the Hat Party and the Purse Game. This year's event was an Apron Party. Organized by Janet Dalton, volunteers created a variety of colorful aprons, and along with each apron came a variety of gifts. Volunteers modeled the aprons which each had a number to be matched with a set of gifts.

Starting with the oldest Elder and working down by age, each of the Navajos could choose their "man" or "woman" (and apron) and then be escorted to the prize area to find out what gifts came with the apron.

Here's a sample of the finery which the Elders had to choose from.

Don Bagley models a particularly tantalizing outfit.

Leona Holiday of Oljato has found just what she wants in a man.

Ted Reynolds, a volunteer from Poway, California, is escorting Anita Jackson of Teesto to the gift area.

Elsie Shay of Big Mountain has chosen an apron worn by Jay Tavare of Hollywood fame.

At the conclusion recipients have a chance to sort through their gifts. In addition to being lots of fun for both Navajos and volunteers, each recipient had many useful items to take home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Setting Up For The Rug Show

by John Aldrich 

What does it take to make a rug show happen? Of course many, many volunteers have spent countless hours throughout the year to set the stage for the event. But what actually happens at the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley on the Wednesday prior to the show to make it all come to life?

Firstly, truck loads of items that are used every year at the show must be transported from the warehouse in Salt Lake to Park City. Then additional truck loads of items, including rugs and other items for sale, must be transported from Linda's to Deer Valley.

Forty to fifty volunteers from Park City and Salt Lake gather to assemble all the materials into the rug show which will start tomorrow with demonstrations of Navajo culture for school children.

Here is the initial room that  visitors see as they enter the rug show. This is only a portion of the overall area the show occupies at the Lodge. Some of the rugs are ready to be unpacked so the hanging can begin.

Fred Palmer, a volunteer from California, is hanging a beautiful tree-of-life rug. Fred and his wife Patti are among a number of people who have come from out of state to help with the show. We even have an international volunteer from Holland.

There are hundreds of rugs to be hung, and deciding the best layout is challenging.

There are always a number of large rugs to be hung which require some skillful ladder work.

In addition to over five hundred rugs which will be on display during the show, there are many other displays of jewelry and other crafts. Several of the tables feature other aspects of the Program's work such as this display for the Walk in Beauty Program which supplies new shoes to school children on the Reservation. Mary Anne Sanborn has come from Santa Fe, NM to help with the show.

A much-anticipated part of setup day is lunch which features delicious sandwiches prepared by Jean Glaser.

This view of the first room,with setup partially completed, gives a tantalizing glimpse of the splendors that will await rug show attendees.  Please plan to attend and be a part of this spectacular event that will directly support and benefit traditional Elders on the reservation who are part of our Program.