In most of our Homes when we go into the Arts and Crafts rooms we see our Residents knitting, crocheting, quilting or doing Ceramics. Here at Villa Guadalupe, one of our Residents, Ethel Martin is still weaving, as so many of the Navajo women learned in their youth.
It is interesting to know that it is the woman in the Navajo culture that does the weaving, along with shearing of the sheep. After the sheep have been sheared, then the wool has to be first cleaned and then dyed. The Navajos use things from nature to dye the wool, things like juniper bark, sunflowers, onion skins and cochineal bugs (for a red dye) among other things. They usually start to weave at the age of 6 or 7. The patterns are in the heads of the weavers, nothing is written down, yet patterns are symmetrical (if you folded it would be the same on the other side). Some in their Homes make their looms with branches of trees. It is always interesting to watch Ethel weave, and watch the pattern grow.