Thursday, June 2, 2016

Native American Sashes

I have been fascinated lately with band weaving, and was delighted to find several examples of woven Native American sashes at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture here in Santa Fe.
Unfortunately, this museum, as I had mentioned before, does not allow photographs. They do, however, allow people to sketch to their little hearts desire, so today I went back with a little sketch pad to study these sashes. I found ten of them, and sketched them all. The sashes were made by Navajo, Zuni Pueblo, and Hopi weavers, and were dated from 1880 to 1960.

While there are many books on Native American rug weaving, I have found none devoted exclusively to sash weaving. The techniques used to make them are quite different. While traditional rugs are weft faced tapestries, these sashes are warp-faced and typically have a pickup design.
My notes are crude but I'd like to weave some of these designs. 

After I left this Museum I decided to see what the Wheelwright Museum had to offer. There was a beautiful and extensive Indian jewelry exhibit going on, but what caught my eye was a book I found in the gift store.
What a little gem of a book! And at $5 it was a bargain. While only 28 pages, the artist's commentary and photographs are well worth the purchase. From it I learned about the symbolism in these designs and gained a better understanding of the process of designing a sash. Mr. Musket also weaves rugs and wall hangings. This book features ten sashes, four wall hangings, and four rugs. There are no instructions on weaving them, but the photos are quite nice.

Copies of this book are available from the Wheelwright Museum. I only saw a few copies left, so if Native American sashes interest you, you might want to grab this while it is available.

Yesterday I was bound and determined to finish knitting my shawl. And I did, after a whole day devoted to it. What a relief to be done, and have it turn out the way I envisioned.
Here it is, unwashed and not yet blocked. I'll take another photo when it has been wet-finished. I love the colors in it.

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