Navajo weaving exhibit opens today

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Past Event

Opening reception for Navajo Weavings and Native American Arts show

  • Friday, November 30, 2007, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— Aside from their traditional patterns and unique meanings, the weavings featured in an exhibit opening today are important because of the wool they were made from: a fiber shorn from Navajo-Churro sheep.

The breed was introduced by Spanish explorers and thrived in the American Southwest until it was nearly eradicated by European settlement. It was reintroduced to the Navajo Nation in the 1970s and is making its way back to traditional looms.

"They were basically wiped out of existence," said Linda Laughlin, director of visual arts for the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, which is presenting the show.

The exhibit features weavings from a New Mexico nonprofit called The Navajo Lifeway, an organization dedicated to promoting and restoring sheep herding, wool processing and weaving. The exhibit, "Navajo Weavings & Native American Art," opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Depot Art Center.

"The work is from weavers that have been doing this for 30 or 40 years," Laughlin said. The show's featured artists started weaving as children.

Each traditional weaving is done in a specific pattern that has its own meaning, said Rachel Radetsky, an executive assistant for the Arts Council. Those pieces hang above authentic American Indian pottery and sculpture. The exhibit also includes modern paintings depicting the Navajo Nation.

"It's a nice comparison for people to view a traditional Navajo work compared to some modern art," Radetsky said.

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