History of Burntwater Rugs
Burris N. Barnes' trading post burned one day and its timbers fell into the water well. From that time forward the Navajo called the area Burntwater. Later, a trading post was built and was called the Burntwater Trading Post. Don Jacobs was the trader.
Master Weaver Mary Goldtooth Smith had been exposed to the mesmerizing geometric designs in weaving styles like the Ganado while at the Hubble Trading post. She realized that the geometrics commanded more money than their banded Pine Springs and Wide Ruins counterparts.
In 1968, Mary Goldtooth Smith, her daughter Maggie Price, and her niece, Philomena Yazzie (all from the Pine Springs area), made the artistic decision to combine two weaving styles that had been separate for more than 100 years—the traditional border design elements found in Two Grey Hills, and the earth-toned dyes of the Crystal/Wide Ruins region where the plant and natural dye stuff was collected.
Their unique weavings were sold from the Burntwater Trading post, and thus, the Burntwater Rug style was born and has since become one of the most beloved and embraced styles the world over. Burntwater weavings were first introduced to the collecting world in the 1974 Arizona Highways Special Weaving edition. Steve Getzwiller then began promoting this new weaving style to other weavers in the the reservation.
View a Navajo reservation map of the origin of each of the regional rug styles - a new window will open
A New Tradition Comes Forth
As intricate and complex as any Teec Nos Pos with geometric designs, the soft pastels and rich earth tones of Burntwater weavings combine to create a beautiful, yet contemporary palette that perfectly balances the Navajo’s historic culture with grandiose artistry. Leveraging exacting symmetry, diamond patterns, stair-stepped cloud designs and so much more. Nizhoni Ranch Gallery weavers are able to create brilliant patterns and colors rarely seen in other rug forms, as well as the freedom to experiment with the natural dye colors and other things such as Philomena’s signature “Battery Acid Blue”.
Breathtaking Colors with Vegetal Dye
One of the most unique aspects of Burntwater Rugs is the wide range of pastel colors used with each one. Primarily constructed of vegetal dyed yarn, these decorated floor décor pieces often feature crosses, triangles, zig zags and frets; all outlined and highlighted with elegant color choices, lavish geometrics, inner borders and end panel bands. Expect a rainbow of beautiful colors with every Burntwater design.
Just like their Navajo ancestors, today’s Nizhoni Ranch Gallery weavers use traditional weaving and loom techniques to create gorgeous, tightly-woven rugs with precision detail. And though Burntwater rugs are a relatively new stylish form, the way they are made is still steeped in Navajo customs. If you’re looking for a beautiful blend of historic Navajo culture with a twist of modern design, the Burntwater will make a perfect addition to your home.