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Spider Rock in Snow

Spider Rock in Snow 0

Beautiful Spider Rock in Canyon De Chelly!
  • Beth Barth
Don't Fall for a Knock Off Navajo Rug!

Don't Fall for a Knock Off Navajo Rug! 0

Oh, the thrill of stumbling across a beautiful weaving at a spectacular price.  Here at Nizhoni Ranch some of our clients have interesting stories about coming across an estate sale, consignment shop, garage sale or auction house where they hit the jackpot or wiped out.

Yet, the old adage "if something sounds to good to be true, it probably is".  Probably is the downfall for some.  The definition of probably is: without much doubt, reasonably true, likely.  Probably is trouble - it gives a ray of hope to those who want to believe.

Then there is the Antique Roadshow situation.  As AR passed through Tucson in 2001 a man took in a blanket he inherited from his grandmother. The blanket was originally given to his great grandfather by Kit Carson. The blanket was used on his bed as a child then later sat on the back of a chair for years.  After watching the appraiser almost pass out and then being whisked away by security, he was told the weaving was a Ute First Phase Blanket, circa 1850's.  A national treasure worth (at that time) $350k to $500k.  Today that very weaving is valued somewhere around 1.5 million.  A beautiful story that remains one of AR's finest moments - a must see and a tear jerker!

So what is one to do?  Pay close attention to:

1 - Fringe

Almost all Navajo weavings will not have fringe.  There are only 2 exceptions. Textiles woven with Germantown yarn.  Fringe is added after the weaving is completed.  Take a look:

Saddle Blanket - Single Sunday Navajo Weaving : Historic : PC 119 - Getzwiller's Nizhoni Ranch Gallery

Germantown Saddle Blanket, PC 119


The other Navajo weaving that has fringe (only on one end) is a Gallup Throw.  Gallup throws became a popular and inexpensive tourist souvenirs.  They are woven with a cotton warp.  Once finished the warp is cut then knotted. A typical contemporary Gallup Throw sells for somewhere between $50 to $100.  See below:

Ganado Throw


 2. Warp

Warp strings run vertically and made on a continuous loom that contains the actual warp threads. You can check this by running your hand along the side of the rug to feel whether the warp threads run the length of the rug or whether they’ve been cut. In Mexican-made copies, the warp strings run horizontally and threads are cut and then sometimes hidden, making it more difficult to detect.  

Mother and children Navajo weaving rug

 Navajo woman weaving on an upright loom with vertical warp strings.


3. Lazy Lines

Lazy lines appear as a diagonal line in the weave of the fabric. During the weaving process, the rug maker would move to work on adjacent sections of the warp, resulting in the subtle diagonal lines referred to as lazy lines. Note: not every Navajo weaving has visible lazy lines.

Lazy lines in Navajo weaving

 Lazy lines at diagonal angles


 4. Cost

Like all Navajo weavings, the values vary based on the age, quality, size, design complexity and condition.  A 3 x 5 contemporary weaving, with good design, good condition and nice wool starts around $ 2,000.  Below is a contemporary Teec Nos Pos / Red Mesa weaving.  Teec Nos Pos is one of the most intricate of designs. This was woven in 2017 by Elsie Begay and measures approximately 5' x 9', $9,000.

Red Mesa Teec Nos Pos Nizhoni Ranch GAllery

Red Mesa / Teec Nos Pos, Elsie Begay, 5' x 9', Circa 2017, $ 9,000

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board have published a very informative pamphlet on How to Buy Authentic Navajo (Dine') Weavings.  To view the publication go to: 

Bottom line, buy through a reputable source and keep all receipts and other documents.  Reputable, meaning they stand behind the weaving and if it's not as portrayed, they will return 100% of what you paid.  

If you are fortunate enough to have a weaving pop up outside of a gallery or reputable dealer and told it is Navajo, buyer beware.  We believe if you love a weaving, the price is right and will still be happy if the weavings turns out to be something other than Navajo - go for it!     

Happy Hunting!

Steve, Gail, Robin and Beth


  • Beth Barth
Navajo Churro Wool Rugs and Blankets - The Getzwiller Churro Collection

Navajo Churro Wool Rugs and Blankets - The Getzwiller Churro Collection 0

Master Weaver Elsie Bia has created yet another special weaving!  This Ganado with Hero Twins is made with Churro wool.  Winner of a Blue ribbon at the 2018 Gallup Inter -Tribal Ceremonial.  

In the 1990s the quality and uniqueness of Navajo weavings was on the decline.  Steve met with an old friend, Ray Dewey, in Santa Fe and they discussed how the quality of Navajo weavings could be improved.  The answer was improve the quality of the wool and dyes.

For hundreds of years Churro sheep have been the center of Navajo life.  Navajo churro wool was the first weaving wool of the Navajo Nation because of its low lanolin content, long staple and translucent qualities.  Unfortunately the churro sheep were nearly exterminated by outside forces.  

In the Getzwiller Historic Textile (GHT) collection exists beautiful pieces that are 100 years old, woven with Churro wool.  Which confirms churro wool is the best and only becomes better with time.  This conclusion planted the seed to bring Navajo churro wool back to the loom.  

Steve was able to find the source of the Navajo Churro Registry where the genetics were being perfected for a better fleece.

Next, Steve found dye artists to dye the wool by hand for what would later be called the 'Navajo Churro Collection'.  Though it seems like a simple thing, this took several years to put together. The final step was finding the best weavers on the Nation who were willing to use the Churro wool. The weavers were thrilled with the wool and loved the new colors (Indigo, Cochineal and the highest quality dyes from Switzerland). With that, the Navajo Churro Collection was born.

The Navajo Churro Collection celebrates the Navajo weavers and the art of the loom. The Nizhoni Ranch Gallery exclusively offers these weavings to the world, which represent some of the finest Navajo weavings ever made.  As it is a legacy well worth preserving.  

Sandpainting Churro 679 Helene Nez Churro # 679, Helene Nez, Sand Painting
1st place AND Best of Category AND Best of All Weavings awards!  
2006 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial


Elsie Bia Teec Nos Pos Churro 1416Churro # 1416, Elsie Bia, Teec Nos Pos / Storm Pattern
1st place AND Best of Category awards!  
2015 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial


large teec nos pos churro 1574 geraldine phillips
Churro # 1574, Geraldine Phillips, Teec Nos Pos
1st place Best of Category
2018 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial

 churro 1470 celelia nez red mesa modern art navajo rug

Joe Ben Wheat Award and 2nd Place Best of Category
2016 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial
Joe Ben Wheat Award is given for exceptional Design

Bistie Sandpainting Marian Nez churro 1345
1st place Best of Category
2013 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial

  • Beth Barth
Natural Dyes - Old Traditions Dye Hard, for that we thank you!

Natural Dyes - Old Traditions Dye Hard, for that we thank you! 0

Natural Beauties

Navajo's use of natural dyes has a long history.  Some scholars believe Navajo weavers began using natural materials to dye their wool as far back as the 1700s.  We agree!

Let's start with Indigo blue.  Indigo dye is made from Indigofera Tinctoria plant that grows in Mexico, Central and South America.  Mexico grew and processed the Indigo plants into a dye powder.  
   Indigofera tinctoria Indigofera Tinctoria

The dye became a popular export from Mexico. The Old Spanish Trail  - sometimes referred to as the Indigo Trail - begins in what is now Mexico City and goes all the way to Taos, New Mexico.  In the 1700s Mexican traders worked all the way up and down the trail,  bringing Indigo to the Navajo weavers.   Natural Indigo is still use today!  
Cochineal wool
Indigo Blue,  (Photo Credit: Isabella Whitworth)

On to Cochineal dye.  Cochineal dye has and interesting history.  It starts with a tiny insect named Cochineal and the Prickly Pear Cactus.  The insect lives on the pads of the cactus.  The insects are brushed from the cactus, sun dried and ground into a dye powder.  The dye creates beautiful deep scarlet, red and purple hues.  During the Aztec Empire,  Cochineal became Mexico's second-most valued export, second only to silver.  When the Spanish arrived in 1519 they were impressed and intrigued with the Aztec's use brightly colored clothes.
Prickly Pear Cactus invested with cochinealPrickly Pear Cactus infested with Cochineal,  
(Photo credit: Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society)

In Europe at that time purple and scarlet red fabric was so outrageously expensive that only rulers could afford it. The dye initially used to make purple, came from the Phoenician trading city of Tyre, which is now in modern-day Lebanon. Fabric traders obtained the dye from a small mollusk that was only found in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea.  

After the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire,  they began to export Cochineal dye to Europe.  The dye was consumed throughout Europe and was so highly prized, at one point is was more valuable than gold.  Fun Fact:  because purple was so closely linked to power, wealth and royalty, Queen Elizabeth the first forbade anyone except close members of the royal family to wear purple. 
Due to Cochineal's value, very little made it's way up the Spanish Trail.  Because of that weavings with Cochineal dyed wool is very rare.  Most weavings with red made in the 1800s is made with Cochineal dyed Spanish Bayetta.  Bayetta cloth was made in England for the Spanish traders.  The cloth made its way back to the US where it was distributed to the Navajo.  The weavers liked the red so much they would painstakingly unravel the cloth and incorporate it into their weavings.  Today our weavers use Churro wool dyed with Cochineal,  which creates absolutely beautiful weavings.  
Cochineal dyes wool
Cochineal dyed wool
You may be surprised to know Cochineal is used for more than just fabric dye.  Get ready,  Cochineal, also known as carmine, or Natural Red 4 is used in the food industry, cosmetic industry and even in pharmaceuticals.  Yikes!  So, if insects in your food is just not your thing,  read the label!
A bit of dark, however important, history which backs up our belief that early Navajo weavers used natural dyes in the 1700s . 
Massacre Cave Canyon del Muerto
Massacre Cave, Canyon Del Muerto, Cayon De Chelly
In the late 1700s the Navajo were at war with neighboring tribes and the Spanish Colonist in the Rio Grand Valley.  Spain dispatched a punitive expedition to the Navajo stronghold of Canyon De Chelly.  This punitive expedition was sent to punish the Navajo in the worst way.

When the Navajo heard the Spanish expedition was on the way, most fled the canyon.  Yet a group stayed behind.  The women, children and the elderly in the group were hidden in a cave high above the canyon floor.  The men waited in the canyon for the expedition to pass.  The story is one of the women in the cave, thinking they were safe from harm,  yelled at the Spanish expedition as they rode by, blowing their cover in the cave.

The Spanish opened fire on the cave killing many inside.  The survivors didn't last long as the Spanish troops found their way into the cave killing the remaining Navajo.  Spanish documents report that over 115 Navajo were killed that day - the women, children and elderly in the group.

Superstitions kept the cave untouched for 100 years until a trader by the name of  Sam Day explored the cave.  He found one complete blanket and fragments of clothing and blankets inside the cave along with skeletons of the inhabitants.  Marks of the bullets left on the cave ceiling can still be seen today.  Since that time the cave has been known as Massacre Cave.

Day retrieved the blankets and sold them to museums around the U.S.  Those blankets are believed to the oldest Navajo blankets in existence.  Below is one of the blankets, which has wool dyed with Cochineal!  
  massacre cave blanket
One of the oldest surviving Navajo blankets (circa 1800) from Massacre Cave in Canyon DeChelly,  (Photo credit:  Art Quil)

Below are a few weavings available with natural dyed Indigo and Cochineal.  
This small Navajo weaving is extremely special, circa 1865.  Woven for a baby in the classic period. It is finely woven with white and Indigo dyed home spun wool,   2 shades of red Cochineal Bayatta and light peach Cochineal Bayetta.

Chief Navajo Blanket
1st Phase Chief Blanket, Churro # 1569
Navajo weaver Judy Marianito just finished (2018) this unique 1st Phase Chief Blanket.  It is woven like a classic Chief Blanket,  it has the handle of a true blanket weave. Narrow Cochineal red and Indigo blue stripes are highlighted with a thick black band.  The ivory banding adds to the over all effect.  Truly special.  
Questions, comments?  We would love to talk with you!  Give us a call at the gallery 520-455-5020.



  • Beth Barth
An Organic Experience

An Organic Experience 0

1984, Steve with some of the artists responsible for the dyed wool inspect the fruits of their labor for the first time.  They greatly admired and enthusiastically discussed the piece, and each was justifiably proud of her own contribution to it.

Excerpt from The Fine Art of Navajo Weaving, text by Steve Getzwiller, photos by Ray Manley
The textile shown here represents a significant achievement in contemporary Navajo weaving.  It is a combination of the talents of six of the most talented vegetal dye artist of the Wide Ruins area, and the weaving and design abilities of two of the finest weavers of the Ganado region.  
There are twenty-five subtly blended vegetal dye colors involved in the weaving.   They represent some of the more desirable hues which the following six ladies are most noted for: Ellen Smith,  Nellie Roan,  Marie Begay,  Betty B. Roan,  Annie Tsosie and Mary Jane Barker. This dye information is generally shared only with family members and no one else, which, by the way, is another reason for much of the experimentation.  Some colors are considered by some weavers to be family hallmarks.
Over a period of several years,  Steve established the confidence necessary to commission the preparation of the wool used in this rug. The actual preparation time required approximately six months.  These ladies would never consider doing this for someone they did not know well and trust.  
Steve commissioned Sadie Curtis to do the weaving of this piece because of her outstanding design and technical ability.  Together with her aunt, Alice Balone, and in approximately six months of weaving time, they completed this masterpiece.  It is exceptionally large, 6" x 9", and is finely woven for a rug of this type, for most pieces do not exceed 3' x 5', or 4' x 6'.
Burntwater Navajo Rug Nizhoni Ranch Gallery
This incredible piece of art is featured at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum as part of the exhibit, "One Traders Legacy, Steve Getzwiller Collects the West"

 Weavers are still weaving gorgeous Burntwater rugs today.  Some still go to the extra mile and make their own dyes using native reservation plants and other natural materials.  Using vegetal dyes, also known as natural dyes, plays a major role in the quality and value of Burntwater rugs.  In fact, weaving a rug with hand dyed natural wool can double the amount of time it takes to complete a weaving.  Therefore, weavings made with natural dyes are of much higher value.  Important to note, when purchasing a Burntwater rug,  be sure to identify if the weaver used vegetal dyes versus analine (commercial) dyes as it greatly impacts the value of the weaving.

Elvie Van Winkle, one of our contemporary weavers, is known for her very tight Navajo weavings, but this weaving was a whole new adventure for her.  As she wove this rug, she also hand dyed the wool with natural dyes to create the most incredible colors and color combinations.  She learned this regional style and family secret dye colors from Lillian Joe, her mom, who continues to weave today.  Lillian is well known for weaving with fine wool, and usually produces small weavings.  

 This weaving is 3' x 4' and showcases Elvie's incredible talent.  It is everything that a Burntwater should be, colorful, balanced and intricate!  Elvie told us she used 60 different wool colors and except for just a few were all hand dyed with vegatal dyes!!!

Elvie won 1st Place and Best of Category at the 2018 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial in August for this incredible weaving.  Sorry, it's no longer available!  

Burntwater Navajo Weaving : Elvie Van Winkle : 3352


Below is Elvie's latest work of art.  She is so talented!  Not sure if this one will last until that we can enter it into the 2019 Gallup Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial.  No ribbon or not this is truly spectacular weaving!




 burntwater-navajo-weaving-on-the-loom_1024x1024 Elvie Vanwinkle

As always, we'd love to talk about our weavings!  Give us a call!  520-455-5020

    • Beth Barth
    News Flash!  Third Encore!  Desert Caballeros Western Museum Exhibit

    News Flash! Third Encore! Desert Caballeros Western Museum Exhibit 0

    We Are Thrilled!  Held Over for a Third Run! 

    The Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, has asked to extend our exhibit “One Trader’s Legacy:  Steve Getzwiller Collects the West”. through September 2019!  (the media release reflects through May of 2019, but since going to print DCWM has asked for it to stay through September 2019!)

    DCWM PR One Traders Legacy

     Below is the great article Susan Sorg wrote about our first hold over!

    Encore! Encore! Encore!

    By Susan Sorg 

                When a rock star or performing artist exceeds the audience’s expectations, there’s usually an extra number, an extra song or bow given…an encore performance.  But in the museum world, what would the encore for a special exhibit be?  How about an extended stay?  That’s exactly what’s going on at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, with “One Trader’s Legacy:  Steve Getzwiller Collects the West”.

                This stunning collection of art, artifacts and historical pieces opened to the public in November 2017 and was scheduled to close June 3rd.  Approximately 20,000 museum attendees have seen it so far.  However, if you haven’t yet, you now have until October 28th to take it all in.  It’s a move unprecedented by the museum.  “It’s an extraordinary step for us, but it’s by popular demand,” says museum Executive Director Daniel Finley.  “People just seem to not get enough of it, so we’re very happy to accommodate.”

                Getzwiller, who has his own venue, Nizhoni Ranch Gallery in Sonoita, has also exhibited in other galleries and museums throughout the West over the years.  He says this extension is a first for him as well.  “This is the fifth show that I’ve done with Desert Caballeros,” he says.  “I consider it an honor.”

                Steve Getzwiller, long considered a premier expert, collector and dealer in Navajo textiles has not only helped to preserve this particular art form, but raised it to a new level as he’s expanded the horizons and materials of several master weavers.  Besides using the traditional churro wool, they’ll also now use silk or alpaca when creating special “wearable art” as he calls some of the ponchos and blankets also on display here.

     For the past 50 years, he’s been working with and gaining the trust of generations of weavers within the Navajo Nation.  Steve and his wife Gail have become extended family to some of these artisans.  But, he’s also become acquainted with and doing business with other Native American artists in pottery, basketry, jewelry and other art forms as well as quietly collecting for himself some outstanding and historical pieces.  Many of these now fill the display cases at the Wickenburg museum with several magnificent and award-winning rugs hanging from the rafters.

    Getzwiller is the real deal when it comes to being an authentic cowboy and rancher.  His western roots run deep in southeastern Arizona, even stretching as far back as the founding of the Republic of Texas.  This is reflected in one of the displays at Desert Caballeros.  “The Family” case includes old branding irons used by generations of Getzwillers along with ropes and spurs which once belonged to his dad, a rodeo contender on the national level in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  Behind it all hangs a Navajo weaving depicting a cowhide with the various family brands incorporated.  This is the first time the public is getting a truly personal glimpse into the very private life of Getzwiller.

    There’s also historic Navajo weavings, true one-of-a-kind pieces dating back to the mid-1800s which you won’t find anywhere else, along with antique Navajo saddles and silver headstalls.  The same is true of Hopi pottery with the works of generations of the Nampeyo family dating back to the early 1900s.  Other displays have Apache items made during the days of Geronimo.  Then there’s the display of western firearms, including the pearl-handled pistol of a Tucson lawman.

    Basketry plays a major role, as well, with the very best of Hopi, Apache, Pima, and several California and Pacific Northwest tribes.  You’ll see Hopi kachinas crafted by Lowell Talashoma and paintings by Navajo and Hopi artists near paintings by western artist Jack Van Ryder.  Then there’s several magnificent orotones from the early 1900s done by Edward S. Curtis, as he captured the end of an era in Native American history.

    Museum Executive Director Daniel Finley says it’s the depth of Getzwiller’s collection which really draws people in.  “First off the overall reaction is that it’s tremendous.  Steve and Gail have the best collection of the Navajo blankets and other artifacts that there is.  Steve’s the best collector in the world of these things…Just the best there is.” 

    Getzwiller says he’s a collector first, so when he came across many of these special items, it was an opportunity he just could not pass up.  He’s already hard at work on an upcoming show in Santa Fe in August, before, during and after the annual world renowned Indian Market.  The pieces currently in Wickenburg, though, will remain through October 28th, with another 5,000 people anticipated to go through the museum.  That’s good news for those planning a visit to Desert Caballeros, and certainly pleasing to Executive Director Finley.

    “I can tell you that people are certainly excited to see it for the first time, and are encouraging others to come.  No question about that.”

     Desert Caballeros Western Museum - Steve Getzwiller

    Town of Wickenburg AZ

    Wickenburg...Historic Wonder of the West

    Want an authentic taste of the wild west?  Wickenburg is the real deal.  The town has successfully merged the past with the present in a way that awakens the cowboy in everyone!



    • Beth Barth
    Warp, Weft and the American West - Great Article by Kimberly Smith Ivey!

    Warp, Weft and the American West - Great Article by Kimberly Smith Ivey! 0

    Warp, weft, and the American West

    Kimberly Smith Ivey

    Although the techniques have remained essentially the same over the last three hundred years, the materials, motifs, and format of Navajo weavings changed because of contact with the Pueblo Indians, the Spanish, and, later, American settlers. The earliest Navajo weavings were clothing and blankets featuring simple stripes in a horizontal format adapted from the Pueblo. The natural shades of the wool from the Navajo-Churro sheep provided the colors. As the practice evolved, native plant dyes were introduced, as was indigo for the color blue. Red was achieved by the use of unraveled wool trade cloth, known as bayeta.

    Fig. 2. Pictorial man’s wearing blanket, or chief ’s blanket, Navajo Nation, c. 1855–1865. Native handspun wool, bayeta, and natural dye, 53 by 76 inches. Except as noted, the objects illustrated are from the collection of Rex and Pat Lucke.

    The term “chief ’s blanket” for early weavings is thought to have been coined by traders who sought to lend the textiles more cachet when selling them. The chief ’s blanket in Figure 2, which is recognized as the oldest existing pictorial Navajo weaving, is elegant in its simplicity and classic proportions. The blanket is wider than it is long in the traditional format, and is decorated with dark brown, blue, and tan stripes. The anonymous weaver, however, had the freedom to individualize the textile with designs based on personal experiences and outside influences, adding the six stylized horses in the center horizontal bands. The horses are stylistically similar to those found on early Navajo petroglyphs dating to about 1800.


    Fig. 3. Navajo weaver in a photograph from 1923. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    Imaginatively stylized images of horses appear on many weavings, signifying their importance to the Diné. Spanish conquistadors had introduced horses to the Southwest in the sixteenth century. Used for transportation, warfare, and commerce, the horse became a symbol of power and wealth. The Diné’s natural tendency toward adaptation and change is reflected in one weaver’s incorporation of horse imagery in a weaving that also includes long-legged chickens, branded cattle, and friendly cowboys wearing hats, boots, and chaps (Fig. 4).

    Fig. 4. Pictorial weaving, Navajo Nation, c. 1885. Native handspun wool and natural and commercial dyes, 80 by 56 inches. The symbol and letter G at the center top probably represent a brand.

    That weaving dates from the “transitional” period (roughly c. 1880–1895), a time of great change in Navajo textiles. The wearing blanket, for example, evolved to the format of floor rugs and table mats in response to the aesthetics of traders and the Anglo-American market. The shape of the textiles often changed too, from horizontal to vertical. The weaver of the example in Figure 6 altered the traditional horizontal stripes and bands to include figures of long-legged chickens and cows. The introduction of commercial dyes for the eccentrically shaped blocks of color also place this weaving in the transitional period.

    Fig. 6. Pictorial weaving, Navajo Nation, c. 1885–1890. Native handspun wool and natural and commercial dyes, 79 by 51 inches.

    By the 1880s pictorial weavings were being made and sold primarily as souvenirs and household goods through trading posts. Small weavings, called samplers or loom samplers, were especially popular because they were less expensive and easier to transport than larger pieces. The red bayeta yarns used in the background of the woven sampler in Figure 5 point to a date prior to the arrival of the railroad in Navajo Territory.

    Fig. 5. Unfinished sampler, Navajo Nation, c. 1870–1875. Native handspun wool, bayeta, commercial cotton, natural and commercial dyes, and soft wood, 21 1⁄2 by 27 1⁄2 inches. The creative weaver gave each row of cattle different stylized heads.

    The completion of the Santa Fe Railroad in the 1880s provided the first real link between the Navajo and the Anglo-American market, and changed the Diné way of life forever. The railroad brought commercial dyes and supplies such as machine-produced wool yarns and cotton string. The high-quality, brightly colored wool yarns imported from Germantown, Pennsylvania, by resident traders between about 1885 and 1915 resulted in numerous remarkable weavings. The rail line also brought new design ideas and made it easier for curious tourists to visit Navajo lands. A popular motif was the train itself, captured in the weaving in Figure 8, for instance, combined with images of wood-framed houses with chimneys. The creative artist humorously modeled some of the houses into train cars by putting them on wheels and attaching them to locomotives. Windows on some are suggested by stylized numbers taken from the trains.

    Fig. 8. Pictorial weaving, Navajo Nation, c. 1885–1890. Commercial wool, cotton, and dye, 51 by 30 inches.

     Almost all Navajo pictorial weavings, including those done today, depict objects or scenes that are common on the native lands. One weaver created a colorful depiction of words and an alphabet from a McGuffey’s Reader, first published in 1836, and widely used as textbooks in nineteenth-century schoolhouses (Fig. 10). The weaver may not have been able to read or write English, yet she had a noteworthy ability to reproduce shapes and letters.

    Fig. 10. McGuffey’s Reader pictorial weaving, Navajo Nation, c. 1890–1900. Commercial wool, cotton, and dye, 48 by 30 inches.

    Fig. 7. Navajo Chief Manuelito’s Wife with Indian Agent W. F. M. Arny, photograph by William Henry Jackson (1843–1942), c. 1874–1883. Navajo chief Manuelito’s wife, Juanita, is shown with a flag weaving still on the loom. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives.

    The American flag was a great favorite with customers . . . although the Navajo weaver adapted “Old Glory” to suit her needs, sometimes altering the rectangular shape; varying the red, white, and blue color scheme; changing the number of stars; or substituting the stars with an entirely different motif, such as flowers or anchors. Because flags were displayed on government buildings, both buildings and flags became symbols of power and authority on Navajo land (Fig. 9).

    Fig. 9. Pictorial weaving, Navajo Nation, 1910–1920. Commercial wool and dye, 34 by 16 inches. The added fringe and bold chevron border at top and bottom give the weaving extra exuberance.

    A new exhibition at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg showcases twenty-six Navajo pictorial weavings dating from about 1860 to 1930 that highlight how the highly skilled Navajo weavers adapted and modified their traditional textiles from the world around them to meet the demands of a modern market and trade. With bold designs and brilliant colors, simple everyday objects like trains, livestock, and houses were transformed into works of woven art, and today tell a compelling story of Navajo adaptation, survival, and change.

    Fig. 11. Pictorial weaving, Navajo Nation, c. 1930. Native handspun wool and commercial dyes, 72 by 44 inches.
    A long-term exhibition entitled Navajo Weavings: Tradition and Trade opens at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, one of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia, on July 14. The weavings are on loan through the generosity of Rex and Pat Lucke of Nebraska, who have been fascinated by the artistic expressions of Navajo weavers for years.
    • Beth Barth
    2018 and the Winners Are...

    2018 and the Winners Are... 0


    Master Weaver Lucie Maraianito won the coveted title of 
    Best of Tribal Arts
    with her Navajo Woman's shawl 
    Churro 1549

    Silky soft Navajo woman's shawl  Lucie Marianito Silk Shawl Churro 1549

    1st Place and Best of Category and BEST of Tribal Arts!!
        This shawl was woven from natural dyed blended Silk/Merino wool.   It is a variant of a 2nd phase Chief Blanket woven shorter to fit you nicely.  Indigo blue and cochineal.!  We are thrilled for you Lucie!!


    CHURRO 1554 -- Gloria Bia
    Ganado Navajo Rug


    1ST PLACE  - BEST OF CATEGORY--Two Grey Hills
    CHURRO 1560 -- Helen and Gloria Bia
    Two Grey Hills 

    That makes 2 Best of Categories for Gloria Bia.  Great job, Great talent!!

     And Hats off to Helen Bia!



    Burntwater Navajo WeavingElvie Van Winkle and grand daughter Best of Category-Elvie VanWinkle

    This weaving came about because Steve asked Elvie if she would weave a natural dyed Burntwater.  Elvie VanWinkle has won 1st Place and Best of Category for her hand dyed Burntwater Navajo rug, 3352 .   Extremely tight and sporting over 60 colors Elvie put great effort into this wonderful weaving! 

    So happy for you Elvie!!   


    Churro 1541Kathy Marianito Navajo Weaver
    Churro 1545Navajo Womans MantaChurro 1521Churro 1552Churro 1552 Churro 1565 1st time Navajo WeaverChurro 1566Churro 1570Churro1571Optical Navajo WeavingChurro 1573Churro 1574 Churro 1575Churro 1576

    Churro 1577 TableTop Teec by Cecelia Nez--we'll have photos soon


    Churro 1567  Churro 1562  Churro 1578  Churro 1579


    1ST PLACE:   
    3333   3311   3340

    2ND PLACE:
    3324    3347  3354






    • robin NRG
    All Hail for National Flag Day

    All Hail for National Flag Day 0

    JoAnne Begay - USA Flag Navajo Rug # 3273


    A little bit of history, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

    In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.[1] The United States Army also celebrates the U.S. Army Birthdays on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.[2][3]

    In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1946, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, § 110[4] is the official statute on Flag Day; however, it is at the president's discretion to officially proclaim the observance. On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday, beginning in the town of Rennerdale.[1] New York Statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.[

     Navajo rug for sale joanne begay us flag

    • Ben Schmid
    Yei! It's National Corn on the Cob Day!

    Yei! It's National Corn on the Cob Day! 0

    Helene Nez with her extraordinary Yei Pictorial with Corn Yei in the middle.

    Corn Yei Pictorial : Helene Nez  : Churro 241

    Helene Nez is an extremely talented weaver.  She has won many awards for her outstanding skill and eye for detail.  

    In this piece of art she has created a Yei pictorial with a Teec Nos Pos border.  There are three Yei in this piece - two yei on either side with valero stars, and inside the central diamond, a corn yei. 

    This piece was woven using Navajo Churro wool which was hand-dyed, additionally she used silk highlights. This is a one-of-a-kind spectacular piece.  Spiderwoman smiles fondly when she thinks of Helene Nez.

    It was also featured in our Holy Woven People Exhibit.  You can see it in the Exhibit guide - click here.  It is from our exclusive Churro Collection. 

    Helen nex corn yei pictorial nizhoni ranvh gallery getzwiller navajo rugs for sale


    • Ben Schmid
    More Than Meets the Eye - Kathy Marianito

    More Than Meets the Eye - Kathy Marianito 0

     We are thrilled AYA Optical has chosen Kathy Marianito's Chief Blanket Churro # 1506 for the design of their newest frame!  For every frame sold, Kathy will receive a portion of the sale, so please pass this along to your friends and family who may be interested!

     navajo rug for sale chief blanket nizhoni ranch gallery

    AYA Optical announces an exciting new collaboration with Navajo master weaver Kathy Marianito of Nizhoni Ranch Gallery in Sonoita AZ. As always, with every AYA product purchased, proceeds are donated to indigenous communities in need.

    News Release (Vancouver, BS) Spring 2018 - AYA Optical unveils an exciting new eyewear collaboration with Navajo master weaver Kathy Marianito of Nizhoni Ranch Gallery.  Launching this June,  the capsule collection will be available at and at select opticians across North America.  

    Says AYA Optical creator Carla D'Angelo "AYA is a celebration of Indigenous Art, through collaboration that looks to the past and the future.  I work with indigenous artists with the goal of making their work less obscure by bringing their art and stories to a wider audience via our eyewear.  It's a small but important act of reconciliation.  I have always been drawn to the beauty of Navajo textiles and love the strong geometric patterns in the weaving, and I am excited to incorporate this historic tradition into a modern medium."

    Chief Blanket Design eyeglass frames Kathy Marianito AYA optical

    Navajo Chief Blanket Design by Kathy Marianito This design drew from a gorgeous 3rd Phase Chief Blanket Kathy created based on a memory of a blanket her Great - Great Grandfather, Manuelito owned.  AYA worked with Nizhoni Ranch Gallery to bring this rich design to a new style - Aspen.  The rich colors of the rug - beautiful browns, indigo, cochineal red and white are revealed on the temple of the glass and complemented with a satin brown front.  This style is lightweight and very comfortable to wear.   The semi-rimless front allows for progressive lenses and the frame has adjustable nose pads to allow for a more customized fit.  Aspen is available in a sleek matte burgundy or a staple color matte black.  

    Kathy Marianito Clief Blanket Eyeglass frame AYA optical nizhoni ranch gallery

    Lightweight and stylish this sharp looking unisex frame is great for mid to larger sized faces with adjustable nose pads to get the fit just right.  This style is available in two sizes for varying face shapes and in particular for larger faces.  Ryan can accommodate progressive lenses and is a full rim lightweight metal glass. 

    About Kathy Marianito

    Kathy is a decedent of master weavers, hailing from deep in the desert of the Southwest, admidst the dramatic scenery of Coyote Canyon.  Kathy's work is often sought by collectors and can be found only at Nizhoni Ranch Gallery, located in Sonoita, Arizona.  Nizhoni Ranch Gallery represents some of the finest Navajo rugs ever made, historically and today.  Steve and Gail Getzwiller stared the company over 40 years ago as a way to share Steve's collection of Navajo rugs and offer high-quality Native American art with the public.  "AYA Eyeware has collaborated with indigenous artists in the past, so when Carla D'Angelo contacted us about using one of Kathy's Navajo designs for an eyewear collaboration, we were thrilled,"  said Gail Getzwiller of Nizhoni Ranch Gallery

    steve getzwiller navajo rugs for sale kathy marianito

    • Ben Schmid
    Weaver of the Month - Helen Bia - June 2018

    Weaver of the Month - Helen Bia - June 2018 0

    Helen Bia started weaving when she was 15 years old, taught by her mother Mary Yazzie Bia and her older sister Lucy B Begay. 

    Steve and Helen have worked together for over 40 years now.  When he started the Navajo Churro Collection Helen was one of the very first weavers he turned to.  Her first churro weaving was completed in 1996.  Since that time she has woven over 20 rugs for the Churro Collection - and counting.  Click here to see Helen's available weavings.

    Helen has won many awards at the Gallup All Indian Inter-Tribal Ceremonial. Her weavings have been in exhibitions at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg Arizona,  highlighted in the 1974 Arizona Highways Magazine and featured on page 6 and 33 of “The Fine Art of Navajo Weaving”, circa 1984 written by Steve Getzwiller and Ray Manley.

    Thank you Helen!  Here's to many more years!

    Here is Helen's bio:
    Master Weaver: Helen Bia 
    Born: December 5, 1945 
    CLAN : Tangle Clan :Ta’neeszhni (Mother). Coyote Pass :Ma’iideeshgiizhnii (Father)

    Helen writes, "Weaving is very important to me as it keeps me stable, brings me knowledge, wisdom and strength. Though weaving is a lot of work, and I mean a lot of work – I think of my weaving as my baby, so also love. I also enjoy the challenge of making new designs, it keeps me strong. My mother has been a major influence in my life and rug weaving.”

    Enjoy a trip through time with Master Weaver Helen Bia, 1985 through today!

    Helen Bia 1985 Navajo weaver Two Grey HIll
    1985 - with her Two Grey Hills on the loom


    Helen Bia Master weaver teec nos pos nizhoni ranch gallery
    1996 - Helen with her Teec Nos Pos/ Burntwater, Churro # 26, 4' x 6'


    Helen Bia Master WEaver Nizhoni Ranch Gallery
    1997 - Helen with her Teec Nos Pos/Pictorial, Churro # 88, 4' x 7'

    Helen Bia master weaver nizhoni ranch gallery churro collection
     1998 - Helen with her Teec Nos Pos, Churro # 160, 30" x 47"

    Helen Bia master navajo weaver nizhoni ranch gallery
    1998 - Helen with her Ganado, Churro # 198, 41" x 61"

    helen bia navajo weaver nizhoni ranch gallery
    1999 - Helen with her Burnham Style,  Churro # 270, 30" x 42"

    helen bia navajo weaver nizhoni ranch gallery
    2000 - Helen with her Teec Nos Pos,  Churro # 225, 5' x 8'

    helen bia nizhoni ranch gallery
    2001 Helen with her Teec Nos Pos, Churro # 374, 41.5" x 61"

    Helen Bia 2002 Two Grey Hill Nizhoni Ranch Getzwiller
    2002 - Helen with her Two Grey Hill,  Churro # 480,  43" x 63"

    Helen Bia - Two Grey Hills Nizhoni Ranch Gallery Getzwiller
    2011 - Helen and Steve with her Two Grey Hill, Churro # 1189, 3' x 5'

     Helen Bia Spider Rock Two Grey Hills Nizhoni Ranch Gallery
    2012 - Helen with her Two Grey Hill,  Churro # 1261, 38.5" x 60"

    Helen Bia Two Grey Hill Nizhoni Ranch Gallery Getzwiller
    2013 - Helen with her Two Grey Hill, Churro # 1320, 38" x 60", at Spider Rock

    Helen Bia Ganado Nizhoni Ranch Gallery
    2016  - Helen with her Ganada,  Churro # 1477, 40" x 62"

     Helen bia klagetoh tree turkey ruins nizonhi ranch gallery getzwiller

     2016 - Helen with her Klagetoh/Three Turkey Ruin, Churro # 1512, 48" x 74"

    Helen bial two grey hill nizhoni rnach gallery navajo weavings getzwiller
    Helen - 2017 with her Two Grey Hill, Churro # 1527,  40" x 61"

     Helen Bia two grey hill navajo rug nizhoni ranch gallery getzwiller
    2017 - Helen with her Two Grey Hill, Churro # 1544, 2'5" x 3'3"

    helen bia two grey hill navajo rug on the loom
    2018 - Helen's current Two Grey Hill rug under construction!  Size will be about 4' x 6'.  

    Keep on weaving Helen!









    • Ben Schmid