Weavers | Weavings | Wool | Wool Buy | About Churro| Jewelry | Pottery | Clothing | Baskets | Pipes & Firestarters | HerbsWerk | Home


Black Mesa Weavers for Life and Land:

Some weavers from Big Mountain, Red Lake, Hardrock, and the Navajo Textile Project at Dine' College, Tsaile, AZ

Elsie A. Begay, Hardrock


MBM-455. Elsie A. Begay. Handsome and soft Crystal blanket with water motifs, 29 in. x 19 in., deep rust, organge/sienna, grey, gold, olive green. $250 ($200 to weaver; $50 to general fund). {Returned to weaver at her request; September 2006.]

MBM-456. Elsie A. Begay. A well-woven Two Grey Hills by this versatile elder weaver, age 82. 27 in. x 19 in., in black, white, dark red, umber, deep mars red/brown, on a grey field. Currently on exhibit and sale at a gallery in San Francisco. {SOLD in San Francisco 12/05].

MBM-457. Elsie Begay, elder, age 82. Powerful, large, traditional storm pattern, 43 in. x 27 in., in black, red, dark grey, light grey, and white. The four sacred mountains at the four corners of the weaving (within which are stacked clouds) are linked by lightning to the center, the place of emergence and the center of the cosmos, and surround the traditional water beetles and water spiders, flanked also by snake motifs on the sides. With an intricate border, this eloquent prayer for rain is one of the most often seen themes woven in the arid high Black Mesa region. (SOLD at Meredith College, Raleigh, NC, 3/31/06)

MBM-458. Elsie A. Begay. Last of four weavings consigned after our fourth wool buy by this versatile elder weaver, age 82. This is a traditional single saddleblanket with reverse twill, 28.5 x 28 in., in black, light grey, gold, and deep rust. On exhibit and sale at a gallery in San Francisco. SOLD in San Francisco, 1/06.


MBM-374. Elsie A. Begay, elder, age 82, Hardrock. Beautifully, evenly woven warm and vibrant Two Grey Hills design, 35 in. x 25.5 in. in dark brown, medium cocoa brown, white, and a warm taupe/grey. SOLD.


Mae Tso, Big Mountain

MBM-378. Mae Tso.
Mae Tso is an elder whose life, like all the weavers in our organization, has been intertwined with the trauma and tragedies of the 1974 partition of what had been jointly used land between the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation. With the erection of a hundreds-mile-long barbed wire fence, a forced relocation began of about 15,000 traditional Dine' and100 Hopi families who had lived in this once well-watered region for hundreds of years. In 1970, the only slurry line in the U.S was built across Black Mesa to move coal 273 miles to the Mohave Generating Plant in Nevada (a source of major pollution in the Southwest, including the Grand Canyon).

The water used by Peabody Coal to slurry the coal was and still is the N-aquifer-- the pristine and only source of drinking water for Dine' and Hopi both. This aquifer had sustained the sacred springs, wetlands, and marshes that had supported about 20,000 people together with their herds of Churro sheep and angora goats since time immemorial. Yet the rainbow remains unbroken, and the people, their livestock, and way of life persist. Black Mesa Weavers for Life and Land is honored to be a small part of this story of survival and renewal, and every weaving, pound of wool, skein of yarn, and other item that you may buy joins you in this effort to restore health and sustainability to this drought-stricken region.

Mae Tso gave us this rare and extraordinary "story weaving" to sell at this year's wool buy. The photo cannot begin to do it justice, or to show the subtleties of the raised outline (one side), and plain weave (on the other side), 23.5 in. x 42 in. It depicts prayer feathers and corn growing (far right), and its far right border is a biil pattern in deep red, as seen in Dine' ceremonial dresses and designs going back thousands of years. (SOLD at Cultural Survival Winter Bazaar, Dec. 4-5, 2004).

MBM-377. Mae Tso. This weaving, which we also received at the wool buy, 30 in. x 20 in., has been sold. The central oval is likely a depiction of Agathla Peak topped by a cloud, and is woven of all natural handspun churro wool. Above and below are day and night borders of rainbow colors in commercial wool, woven with wavy water lines. SOLD


Rena Babbitt Lane & Family, Red Lake/Tonalea

MBM-410. Mary Lane, a daughter of Rena Babbit Lane, has woven this sturdy single-saddle blanket size rug of entirely handspun natural churro with her mother's yarn, 32 in. x 27 in. This eloquent and glowing cosmological map is in natural black, white, grey, and a warm Red Mesa rust in the center. On Black Mesa, this traditional weaving style has passed intact through the generations, from mother to daughter. This weaving is currently on sale at the Arizona State Museum, Tucson, in the "Native Goods" Museum Shop, in conjunction with the special exhibition, opening Oct. 23, "Navajo Weaving at the Arizona State Museum: 19th Century Blankets / 20th Century Rugs / 21st Century Views." SOLD at museum shop, May 2005.

MBM-363. Rena Babbitt Lane, age around 84. The coal slurry line that drains the pure N-aquifer water runs under Rena Babbitt Lane's homesite. Yet, she has no running water and must drive about 40 miles round trip three times per week over rough, treacherous dirt roads to haul drinking water in 55-gallon plastic drums for her livestock and family. Her pickup truck is constantly breaking down...

Woven of all handspun churro from her own flock, this large and powerful rug is sturdy enough to go on the floor, 57.5 in. x 32.75. in. Its price to the weaver will go to repair her truck and enable her to continue to haul water for her livestock. Natural black, brown/grey/multi, white and aniline-dyed churro wool. Rena Babbitt Lane has been weaving for most of her life, and her knowledge of traditional churro wool preparation--she still hand-processes her own yarn--is profound. [Returned to weaver at her request.]

MBM-386. Rena Babbitt Lane, age 86. Exuberant "Crystal/Wide Ruins" design blanket, a dazzer pattern of vegetation nd water motifs. Sturdy and tightly woven, 48.25 in. x 38 in. (SOLD).

MBM-407. Rena Babbitt Lane. Double Two Grey Hills design with weaver's pathway, 40.5 in. x 22 in., in black, bright red, coral pink, medium grey, deep red, white, warm taupe/tan. (Returned to weaver at her request.)

MBM-408. Rena Babbitt Lane. All-handspun churro from her own flock, thick and sturdy single saddle blanket "chief's blanket" design, in natural white and black, and commercial dyed red, 35 in. x 36.5 in. SOLD.

MBM-428. Rena Babbitt Lane. Classic reverse twill weave double saddle blanket, in a symphony of blues and deep rich browns, greys, and blacks, 57 in. x 33.5 in., in handspun churro wool from her own flock (blacks, browns, greys), and commercial wool (blues). It seems to move from earth to sky, in the predominantly dark brown bottom half, with a subtle shift toward dawn and predominant blues, and then into night. Impeccably woven by this 85-year-old elder from Red Lake, sturdy enough to put on the floor, your horse, or grace your wall. Shown in entirety and in two details. Edges are straight and even. This double saddle also has long decorative tassels at two corners, woven in an old style. $800 ($700 to weaver; $100 to general fund).
Detail of MBM-428.

MBM-429. Rena Babbitt Lane. Exquisite traditional so-called "empty field" double saddle blanket, one of the oldest styles of Dine' weaving, shown with a detail as well, 57.5 in. x 31.5 in. Straight, dense, and strong, superbly woven of all-handspun natural color churro wool from her own flock, this blanket has an unusual white on black four directions/Spiderwoman cross border, with two "arms" marking the center, as shown. The incredible richness of the deep chocolate-brown Red Mesa center cannot be fully captured in a photo. Sturdy enough to go on the floor, on a horse, or on your wall. This is the kind and quality of weaving often written about by non-Dine' as going "extinct," but it's lived in an unbroken tradition through generations of weavers on Black Mesa. SOLD.


Photo courtesy Linda Griffith © 2001


MBM-158. Zena Lane, daughter of Rena Babbitt Lane and a master weaver. Glowing earth-toned large Wide Ruins blanket, impeccably, evenly, and smoothly woven, 53.5 in. x 34.25 in. Tan, medium brown, multi/orange-flecked light tan, natural white, black, medium grey/multi, deep red. The wavy horizontal lines represent flowing water, which nourishes the bands of plants and vegetation. This superb blanket could easily retail for $2,000 or more. SOLD.
Another view of MBM-158. SOLD.

MBM-84. Zena Lane. Brilliant amd powerful four directions design in all handspun churro wool in natural, vegetal-dyed (gold), and commercial-dyed (red), with a central Spiderwoman four-directions cross, 33 in. x 25 in. This weaving is strongly evocative of Tibetan mandala designs, as well as classic Dine' weaving.$450 to weaver.


Jeanita and Philip Lane in Window Rock.

Jeanita is a daughter-in-law of Rena Babbitt Lane. She and her husband, Philip, have 8 wonderful children, 6 boys and two girls, ranging in age from 17 to one years old. Here are two of her sons (above), holding three of their weavings (shown below).

MBM-385. Jeanita Lane. The photo can't do justice to this impeccably woven large and dramatic "Four-in-One" -- two variations of Two Grey Hills and two Storm pattern variations, 60 in. x 35.5 in. SOLD at Cultural Survival Summer Bazaar, Tiverton Four Corners, RI, June 4-5, 2004.


MBM-395. Carwin Lane, age 7. Given as a gift, but another can be commissioned.


MBM-387 (SOLD) and MBM-388. (SOLD) Thurwin Lane, age 11 and McQueltin Lane, age 9. Two blanket mats, in natural white, light tan, chocolate brown, and black edge cords: one 16 in. x 11 in., and the second 16 in. x 10.5 in. MBM-388 was on sale at the Arizona State Museum, Tucson, in the "Native Goods" Museum Shop, in conjunction with the special exhibition, opening Oct. 23, "Navajo Weaving at the Arizona State Museum: 19th Century Blankets / 20th Century Rugs / 21st Century Views." MBM-388 SOLD at exhibit opening, 10/23/04.

MBM-390. Cariana Lane, age 13, 16.5 x 11 "Love" with cross and landscape, rainbow-red sky. SOLD at Cultural Survival summr bazaar, Tiverton Four Corners, RI, July 31-Aug.1, 2004.

MBM-389. Thurwin Lane, age 11.
"Love" with cross, blue sky, with clouds, and land, 16.75 in. x 11.25 in., This weaving is currently on sale at the Arizona State Museum, Tucson, in the "Native Goods" Museum Shop, in conjunction with the special exhibition, opening Oct. 23, "Navajo Weaving at the Arizona State Museum: 19th Century Blankets / 20th Century Rugs / 21st Century Views." [SOLD, December 2004]


MBM-391. McQueltin Lane (age 9) and Carwin Lane (age 7) "with help from mom." Cross with sky and earth, 9.5 in. x 7 in. SOLD at Cultural Survival Summer Bazaar, Tiverton Four Corners, RI, June 4-5, 2004.

MBM-392. Thurman Lane, age 17. "We Stand Proud," woven with handspun wool from his grandmother's (Rena Babbitt Lane's) sheep. 11 in. x 8 in. SOLD.

Jeanita Lane holding a loom model "Welcome" wall hanging of her own design, with weaving tools and tufts of yarn around the frame. Available by special order.

Betty Babbitt, Tonalea/Red Lake

MBM-490. Betty Babbitt, a niece of Rena Babbitt Lane. Tightly and superbly woven "two-in-one" weaving, of handspun natural and vegetal-dyed churro, 26.5 in. x 24 in. with an exquisite "Wide Ruins" water and vegetation motif blanket, with reverse twill bands, surrounding an intense and powerful storm pattern prayer for rain. The four sacred mountains are linked by lightning to the four directions center, flanked by cloud and snake motifs, with water beetles and water snakes. Below is a detail of the center storm pattern. [Returned to weaver at her request, as a gift for her daughter's marriage, 12/14/06].

Detail of MBM-490.

MBM-446. Betty Babbitt. All handspun natural color churro wool (commercial-dyed red) in a large, impeccably woven ,and imaginative traditional Storm Pattern, 61 in. x 35. in. The four sacred mountains are outlined in brilliant red, in a lightning motif that surrounds the central images. Intricate stacked white clouds, interior mountains, abstract water beetles, and a powerful zigzag border complete this prayer for rain, with weaver's pathway. Natural grey, black, and white churro; commercial-dyed red. Returned to weaver at her request, September 2005.


Sally Tsosie
Sally Tsosie on Big Mountain at a meeting of Black Mesa Weavers for Life and Land, July 2003.

MBM-364. Sally Tsosie. Classic stacked clouds and mountains blanket design of handspun natural (black, grey, white) and commercial (gold and mauve) wool with weaver's opening, 40 in. x 28.5 in $550 ($450 to weaver; $100 to general fund). [Returned to weaver at her request, June 2006.]


MBM-289. This warm "Welcome!" weaving will light up anyone's home or office. All handspun wool with fine pinyon / squashblossom flower and traditional hourglass/queue border in red, white, black, and light grey, 36.5 in. x 16.75 in. SOLD (at the Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA).


MBM-288. Sally Tsosie. Wide Ruins blanket design in all handspun natural and glowing orange-gold wild carrot vegetal dye wool, 46 in. x 33.25 in., with classic water and squashblossom motifs in white, wild carrot, mars red, raw ochre, light umber/tan, with two long deorative tassels. The weaver has lightly sewn with handspun wool a hanging fold for a dowel. If you wish, this can be unstitched, and the weaving is symmetrical in design and another 2 in. in length. SOLD.


MBM-220. Sally Tsosie, all handspun natural churro wool, white, grey/brown multi, and black, 23.5 in. x 20 in. SOLD.

Tamara C. Yazzie

MBM-340. Tamara C. Yazzie is a young woman who joins us with this weaving that she made as a student in the Navajo Textile Program at Dine' College inTsaile, Arizona. We are honored to have her join us, and pleased that some of our Churro wool has been purchased by the Navajo Textile Program to be used to reintroduce Dine' weavers who are learning how to weave to this wonderful fleece. This buoyant and classic mat is woven in black, light grey, warm tan/grey, warm raw umber, brown, white, a warm taupe, and a deep mars red in a stepped clouds and mesas design with a black center, 16 in. x 16.75 in. SOLD at the Cultural Survival Summer Bazaar, Tiverton, RI, 2004.

Write to: Black Mesa Weavers, P.O. Box 543, Newton, MA 02456
or email : carol@migrations.com to place an order, or for more information.

Copyright © 1998 -2005 Carol Snyder Halberstadt, Migrations. All rights reserved. Migrations and Black Mesa Weavers for Life and Land are trademarks of Migrations.

Return to Migrations home page.