A Navajo Weaving Techniques Class Like No Other: Where You Will Go
Our week-long weaving class is a seven-day total immersion into weaving and modern Navajo life in and near the Navajo Nation at our store in the very diverse and artistically vibrant community of Gallup, New Mexico. We stay in contemporary accommodations at the Best Western Plus about a mile from the store, and we will help shuttle you back and forth to the hotel as needed. There are six great places to eat within walking distance, and our store is in the downtown arts district. Part of the day you’ll learn Navajo weaving techniques and another slice of our time is spent exploring the weaving-related attractions in the area. Our days typically start at 9 AM, and we call it quits at 7 PM, but we do stay late sometimes. We weave on a traditional loom, sitting in a chair. You may sit on the floor if you would like to, but it is not a requirement.
Our field trips for the Navajo Weaving Techniques Class include
- The historic Hubbell Trading Post
- R. B. Burnham Trading Co.
- Bill Malone Trading (walk next door)
- Perry Null Trading
- Richardson’s Trading Co. (the Sistine Chapel of Navajo weaving)
- Lunch or dinner at Earl’s in Gallup, NM (you might complete ALL your Christmas shopping! Really!)
- Navajo Nation Museum
- Window Rock Tribal Park
- Canyon de Chelly ($60 paid directly to the tour guide)
- Two Grey Hills Trading Post
- Toadlena Trading Trading Post
- Visits from and with weavers and artists
- Going to the front for MORE YARN (the class is in a yarn store!!!)
All field trips are optional but darn near impossible to resist so it may be best not to try. We carpool our private vehicles for field trips. Generally, this means that we have our company van (7 passengers) plus one car driven by a student on each trip. If you are willing to drive, we’ll be glad to help with the fuel expense. Please let us know if you’re a potential driver for your session. Carpooling means that we don’t have to rent large vans, which are difficult for some students to access and are less safe in certain road situations. Traveling in small groups allows more flexibility in destinations and itineraries, and that means a more personalized experience for you. Most people drive only once or twice during class unless they prefer driving. Don’t worry about it if you don’t want to drive. It’s never been a problem, and we’ll use Navajo Transit drivers if needed!
A Full Week to Learn
- Loom warping
- Diagonal, interlock, and dovetail joins
- Elements of design
- Problem-solving (limited to weaving related problems)
- Carding and spinning
- Rug finishing
- Adaptation of Navajo techniques to non-traditional patterns
- Vegetal dye techniques
Navajo-made looms and tools will be available for purchase. We encourage local weavers to visit us in class, and we do adapt our itinerary to invitations and opportunities which arise during the week. Spouses, friends, and significant others are encouraged to come along and are very welcome to join us on our field trips. Those accompanying you may need to use a separate vehicle for field trips, so please plan accordingly.
Navajo Weaving Techniques Class Tuition and Housing Costs
Tuition is $700 with a $250 deposit for new students and a $25 deposit for previous students due on registration. The fee includes the use of a loom and tools for the week and a $25 store credit. You will also receive a digital download of our book with the right to print one copy of it if you wish. Tuition also includes one group meal. Our student to teacher ratio is one to four or five compared with one to 10 or 12 students that you may experience in other venues. Our teaching day extends from 9 AM to 7 PM, hours longer than the seven-hour teaching day that is standard for most other classes. There are also numerous hotels and Airbnb accommodations (including a cool hogan in the vicinity). The estimated cost of meals is around $20-35 per day. Breakfast is free (and edible) if you are staying at the Best Western. If you’d like to share a room, please let us know. We’ll try to pair you up with another student. No guarantees about snoring or sleepwalking.
Registration, cancellation, and refund policies
A deposit is required to hold a place in our Navajo weaving techniques class. Deposits are non-refundable. If you can’t attend the session you’ve registered for, deposits may be transferred to another class as long as pay any difference in tuition. Tuition must be paid in full 90 days before your class begins. If low enrollment forces a class cancellation, we will refund your deposit. We will make this determination six months before your class, and we will inform you immediately should we need to do it. Unpredictable conditions like weather, employment, and medical emergencies may affect your ability to attend a class. We highly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to cover the portions of your trip that may not be refundable.
Getting to Gallup
Gallup is in northwestern New Mexico. It is about 135 miles west of Albuquerque, NM, and about 300 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. Amtrak provides service to Gallup. The train arrives from Flagstaff, AZ and points west at about 9 AM and from Albuquerque at about 7 PM. There is no train service from Phoenix. We will be glad to pick you up at the train with notice. If you are willing to provide a ride for another student from either Albuquerque or Phoenix, please let us know, and we’ll try to match you up with someone.
Vitally Relevant Details: You’re Not in Chicago Anymore
Some of our class activities occur on the Navajo Nation, which is a sovereign entity. While on the Navajo Nation, we are subject to the laws of the Navajo Nation, and alcohol may not be purchased or consumed. The elevation in Window Rock and Gallup is about 6500′ above sea level, and you may find that you need a day or so to adjust to the altitude. The climate is high desert and temperatures can vary as much as 40 degrees over 24 hours. It is not unheard of for us to have snow during our May class and in fact, we’re getting used to it. The average temperatures in May and October are 30-35 degrees at night and 60-65 degrees during the day. In June, July, and August, the nighttime temperatures are 50-65 degrees, and days average 80-90 degrees.
Your Navajo Weaving Techniques Class Instructors
Jennie Slick is at the left in this picture. She is born to the Coyote Pass people and born for the Bitter Water People. She resides in the Querino Canyon area near Sanders, Arizona. Jennie has been teaching for over 20 years. She has taught all over the United States. Jennie loves sharing her weaving knowledge because she says, “you’re not supposed to be stingy with it.”
Jennie is a very patient teacher, so her students come back for more classes to increase their knowledge. She is fluent in Navajo and can teach in either Navajo or English.
Gloria is at the left in the picture. Her maternal clan is Mountain Cove, and her paternal clan is Towering House. She is the daughter of the famous weaver Nellie Joe. Nellie schooled all of her daughters in her exacting techniques of weaving and design. Gloria’s Chief Blanket and Burntwater designs are outstanding. She experiments with design, and she loves natural dyes.
Gloria is very encouraging, and so her students love her. Her rugs and weavings are in collections all over the world. She is continually increasing her weaving expertise and loves to learn about new yarns and dyes. Gloria strives to be a better weaver, so the chances are that you will be too!
Gloria is fluent in both Navajo and English and teaches students in both languages.
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