The Wheelwright Museum presents iconic textiles made by master weavers of the community surrounding the Toadlena and Two Grey Hills trading posts.
The Toadlena/Two Grey Hills weaving region is located in New Mexico, about one hour’s drive south of the Four Corners area. Weavers in this area can still recount stories of ancestors who experienced the Long Walk, a journey of more than 400 miles that began the Navajo internment at Bosque Redondo, from 1864-1868. Some families who returned home from the ordeal managed to regenerate and maintain flocks of local sheep, whose long-staple wool, ideal for hand spinning, characterizes what is known today as Toadlena/Two Grey Hills weaving.
During this first decade of the twentieth century, weavers and traders from this region collaborated to develop a distinctive style of textile that has proven to be one of the most popular and enduring in the history of Navajo weaving. In addition to the exclusive use of hand-processed wool from locally raised sheep, tapestries, and rugs from the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills region are distinguished by their coloration. Black wool may be over-dyed to strengthen its intensity, and white may be enhanced by bathing it in a solution of calcium sulfate from locally occurring minerals. All other shades are the natural colors of wool.
Based on more than twenty years of research by trader Mark Winter, and featuring rugs and tapestries dating from circa 1910 to the present, the exhibition explores the historic lifeways, painstaking technique, and family connections that have fostered one of the world’s great craft traditions. Included are masterworks by Daisy Taugelchee, Bessie Manygoats, Clara Sherman, and many others. In addition the exhibition celebrates contemporary weavers, such as Rose Curley, Salina Dale, and Mary Ann Foster, through whose hands one of America’s greatest craft traditions flourishes.