Navajo Rugs... Native plants - to color - to yarn - to blanket.
Thank you for receiving these musings,
some philosophical, some mystical, some maybe even a-musing.
The title of these Musings may be a bit cryptic, but hang on. I'll explain.
It's all about research - where it leads you, what puzzles and treasures you may find along the way to writing a novel. Below, I share one of the rabbit trails I followed as I wrote. - the Navajo lore and skill of weaving beautiful blankets.
First, a quick note about the
Ladies of the Lake Holiday Boutique on Nov. 2nd and the
Giveaway that I offered in last Musings.
I participated as an author at the Ladies of the Lake Holiday Boutique. It was fun selling and signing and making new friends. This year I added two books to my table - Cast in Stone: The Secret of New Moon Mesa (finally released!) and an anthology of short stories, Coffee-Sized Stories and TeaTime Tales. I made a gift bag of coffee, tea, candy, candle and charm bracelet and they sold out before noon (the last one is shown on the lower left.) I should have made more. It really was a cute idea. I'm making several others by request!
The Giveaway Drawing will be on Nov. 20th to add those who purchased a book during the boutique that day and/or purchased on Kindle. So, a little more time to get all the names in the pot, :-) The Giveaway includes this Writers/Readers/Coffee-Tea Drinkers bracelet AND a $15 Amazon gift card. Still time to purchase and send the receipt and get in the drawing. (I've since added several charms to this and will add initials if requested by the winner.)
On to my research and the non-book project it inspired.
As the Sunset Canyon Series unfolded, new people came into the story.
In Cast in Stone: The Secret of New Moon Mesa, several new characters revealed, specifically a new main character - Awatobi Racine - a half-Navajo archaeologist. Her backstory came to light as I incorporated her into the plot, and that backstory required creating her life story - Who are her parents? What motivates her? What are her desires as she sets up the dig site on New Moon Mesa?
One of Awatobi's interests that she keeps to herself during her doctoral studies in anthropology, is learning about the Navajo Way of life. This is where research comes in. I had to know more about Navajo life, to understand Awatobi.
I bought several books, of course and one of them was "Songs from the Loom: A Navajo Girl Learns to Weave," by Monty Roessel.
When the book arrived, I knew that my Awatobi had an experience like this when she was thirteen with her Nali, her grandmother. So, even though this episode in Awatobi's life is not detailed in the book, (it's backstory so only carefully "woven" into the book here and there,) I wanted to know more about Navajo rug-making.
I'd love to own a real Navajo rug/blanket. At this point, I have this little one on the back of my chair. I've had it since I was young. It's been so long, I can't remember who gave it to me. (That's Poquita in the picture, btw.)
Another part of my journey to research Navajo weaving is all about my clumsiness.
I broke a treasured picture of mine that displayed a small section of a Navajo rug with the yarn pulled out the sides to point to the plant that was used to dye the wool threads at that part of the rug. I knocked it off the easel it sat on. So sad.
Well, now I'm remaking it with imagery, because the dried plants in the picture pretty much disintegrated. Awatobi and the Girl who learns to Weave have put me to the task.
However, it would take an age to go into the desert and find all those plants, so I'm using graphic arts to reconstruct the picture :-).
As I re-make this montage, I am reading about the plants and the process of dyeing wool, combing it, pulling and twisting it into threads and ultimately setting up the loom. As I learn, I'll post a new Musing about the Navajo Way of making these rugs and blankets.
I can, of course, only report and tell about my efforts. I am not Navajo. Their Way is truly a marvelous connection with the Earth, Sky and the boundless mystery of the Four Corners area in the Southwest. I am merely a spectator/student who is learning and appreciating on the periphery.
Here's what I'm working on:
The picture frame (25 X 20 inches) held this small rug and the dried plants to the sides. When it fell, the plants were broken and I had to lift them off. I put them in this box. While the plants were still attached in their ruined state, I sketched the layout on a large format artist drawing tablet. I'm going to re-construct the montage with imagery to preserve the design and information the best I can.
We'll see how it turns out.
I welcome any comments and thoughts, suggestions about this project. I'd love some pictures of Navajo rugs if you are blessed to own one. I'll add the pictures to the next Musings. Send pics to firstname.lastname@example.org
One doomed archaeological dig site PLUS
One tall cowboy with all its secrets
One stubborn archaeologist determined to have those secrets (and not fall for the handsome cowboy)
An ancient past too dangerous to be uncovered.
For Love of Cozies -
"An amateur sleuth" and "A quirky supporting cast."
The Nora Pigeon Mysteries
is available on Amazon
The series will continue with
an upcoming novella:
A Most Curious Conundrum
in Cricket Hollow
Solving Crime one Tale Wag
and Tarot Card at a time!
Short Stories Brewed Just Right
for that well-deserved break with
a steaming cup of coffee or tea.