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In the long ago, Spider Boy gave the first loom to the Diné (Navajo) — its frame came from the sun, the rain provided the vertical warp, and the horizontal weft was made of lightning — and Spider Woman taught the people to weave.

 Anthropologically speaking, the Diné likely learned weaving from Puebloan peoples they encountered when they moved into the Four Corners region more than a millennia ago. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, weaving was of cotton and produced for utilitarian purposes. From the late 17th century onwards, the Diné began raising sheep and weaving with wool. Textile designs were simple and were produced using the natural color of the wool or with dyes derived from native plants. With the arrival of the railroads in the late 1800s, weaving took on a commercial aspect and rugs rather than blankets were produced often using aniline dyes.

Come and explore the fascinating story of Diné weaving as we follow the trail of trading post merchants like Cotton, Moore and Hubbell who brought the influence of the orient to the Southwest and introduced the world to these amazing textiles. Our guide is second-generation Indian art dealer, scholar and author, Mark Bahti. His knowledge and expertise is unsurpassed and provides unique insights into the lives and work of native craftspeople. His thoughtful collections are showcased in his Tucson and Santa Fe galleries. Our host is Stephen Bernier of South of the Border Tours, a leader in travel to the Southwest and Mexico.

Travelling from Shonto to Teec Nos Pos to Ganado we’ll visit with weavers from throughout the Navajo Nation, experiencing their process, sharing their knowledge and learning their stories. We’ve planned a special day with master weaver Roy Kady, time to discover the actual “sheep in the rug” – the Spanish Churro. From shearing to spinning to dyeing with native plants, we’ll get our hands into everything. There’s a stop at Diné College to get a peek at their weaving programs designed to teach younger generations the process of their ancestors, an al fresco breakfast at Spider Rock, a tour of historic Hubbell Trading Post and, of course, the semi-annual Friends of Hubbell Native American Arts Auction in Gallup!

This is indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a well-curated, experiential journey into another culture, the weaving world of the Diné. Cost includes motorcoach transportation, accommodations, all meals (except for lunch at the acution), admission fees and guide services. $1625 per person/double occupancy ($325 single supplement). A $500 deposit will save you a spot!