Weaver of the Month - Elsie Bia - April 2018
Master weaver Elsie has been weaving for over 50 years. We are so blessed to have her weaving for us exclusively. Since 2013 she has woven over 25 rugs - and another is currently on the loom. The rate which she weaves exquisite rugs is nothing short of incredible.
Additionally she is extremely versatile. She weaves many different patterns and styles including Burntwater, Ganado, Teec Nos Pos, Crystal, Sand Paintings, Bistie, Pictorials and Storm.
She has won the following awards at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, 3 Best of Category; 6- 1st Place; 2 Artist Awards and many smaller awards.
Her grand daughter Natalie and grandson Dylan have recently begun weaving. No doubt they will also become Master weavers under the wing of their grandmother.
Below is her weaver profile which is posted on our website:
Born: August 25, 1951
CLAN: “Big Water Clan” for “Tangle People Clan” My Grandpa Clan is “Edgewater Clan, and my Naali Clan is “Bitterwater Clan)
Elsie, “I had no training for weaving, it was given to me from above. I also learn from my mom and grandma. When I was 14, I would watch my mom weave and then help her finish the rug. My mom and grandmom helped me learn to weave.”
Elsie has famous relatives that also weave; Cara Yazzie, Helen Bia, Irene and Lucy Begay.
Elsie, “My favorite designs are Burntwater, Wide Ruin, Ganado Red and Teec Nos Pos. Weaving rugs is a Navajo tradition and it is passed down by my family, and I Love to weave. It is my only income and it helps me a lot. I enjoy doing my work. It takes lots of time, not only to weave but all of the math and counting. I just love what I do, always challenging myself with new patterns and designs. I really like taking my time to figure out what comes next in my weaving and then to see the outcome of the design. Taking my time to figure out what comes next and the outcome of the design is exciting. “
“I would like to say that I love to do rug weaving. I’m glad I learned to weave. It takes time to weave. People know me as a rug weaver. I’m proud of myself.”
“I’m glad I’m still weaving and I thank everyone that helped me. Yup. I watch my Grandma, Mom weave, I got it from them…. We got our wool from the sheeps. We use to shave it off from the sheep, carded and dye it, spindled it and make a loom and start to weave, that’s all of weaving. Now I don’t have sheep anymore, anyway I love to weave, do my best for my buyer Steve Getzwiller.
"p.s. I even raise my kids with my rug weaving".
Natalie Tso weaving her first rug - Granddaughter of Elsie Bia
Dylan Tso displaying his first rug - Grandson of Elsie Bia
- Ben Schmid