Monday, November 7, 2011

Rug Show 2011 - Rug Training

by John Aldrich

Although the rug show doesn't officially open for a few more days, last night's rug training event at the warehouse seemed for many of us as though it was the start. A record crowd of volunteers who will help at the show came to learn about Navajo weaving and get last minute instructions.

John Burrow is incredibly generous with his time and knowledge for this event. He not only makes the trip from his home in Oregon for this occasion but returns just a few days later for the rug show itself. Volunteers, whether veteran or new, benefit from John's discussion of the art of Navajo weaving as well as the variety of different rug styles.

After a break, John spent some time discussing how to be effective sales people. His advice is that the rugs will "sell themselves" to people who make a connection with a particular weaving. The role of the volunteer is just to facilitate this happening. First time volunteers probably feel a sense of relief at this recommendation since they can feel more relaxed with their role.

Besides the rug training itself a variety of other things took place. Before the meeting and during the break, volunteers could enjoy a selection of potluck goodies:

Masuda Medcalf manned a table where people could buy rug books or DVD's of the recent ANE Turning Point broadcast:

Volunteer coordinators, Elinda McKenna and Mac Lund, gave us some last minute advice and instruction:

And during the break a variety of horse rugs were on display:

To close the evening, Linda gave us some rug show history and spent time reviewing the real purpose of the rug show:

It's easy to think of the show as a venue for this unique art form and a place for people attending the show to find a wonderful piece to hang on the wall. But Linda reminded us that these rugs represent the livelihood of the weavers, and that by buying the creations of their looms we are giving them the means to continue not only weaving but to acquire the basic necessities of life and support their families.