Style: Raised Outline Rugs
Weaving styles vary greatly, even among the Navajo people. And while some styles go in and out of favor, others stand the test of time, and some have cropped up long after the “rush” of trading. The Raised Outline rug style is one such design, being one of the last to evolve, it is a unique weaving choice that’s still fairly limited in production even after 50 years since it’s inception.
History of Raised Outline Rugs
Arizona in the 1960s was just hitting its stride. It opened the state’s first air-conditioned mall, the giant meat-packing company, Cudahy, moved to Phoenix, and the weavers of Coal Mine Mesa decided it was time to create a new weaving pattern. Thus, the Raised Outline design was born. As textured and ruggedly beautiful as the Arizona landscape itself, these unique pieces have added a unique dimension to the Navajo weaving styles.
View a Navajo reservation map of the origin of each of the regional rug styles - a new window will open
Birth of a New Technique
It should go without saying that the reason the Raised Outline got its name is because of the weaving technique. Instead of a more traditional weaving process, there are certain joints between color areas that are thicker and appear to rise about the weaving surface. This happens when the weaver alternates single weft threads containing two contrasting colors. And when weft threads are twisted upon each other during the process, this raised ridge offers a tangible, physical feel and aesthetic unlike any other.
Raised Outline rugs are as much about style as they are about being bold and unique. The raised portion is visible only on one side of the rug. The raised outlines are like a map of the land as it gently ebbs and flows with the rising of mountain tops and ridgelines, giving it a two dimensional effect. The other side of the weaving is smooth which makes each rug feel and look especially unique, like two rugs in one, from one side to the other.