Ruth Teller was one of the finest Two Grey Hills weavers. She lived in a small place not to far from Newcomb on what used to be Highway 666. My dad used to stop and see her and I went with him a couple of times.
Barbara and Roseann holding a weaver's rug for the camera at Two Grey Hills Trading Post
She had three daughters that also were amazing weavers. Two of them, Roseann Lee and Barbara Ornelas worked together to create a large Two Grey Hills tapestry that won the Best of Show at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 1987. It was the first Navajo weaving to win the award and it set a record price for contemporary Navajo weaving when it was sold. Roseann was killed in an automobile accident in 1996. The youngest sister, Lynda Pete, has also reached the master weaver level and joins with Barbara to show at the Santa Fe Market and the Heard Museum.
The two also take their dedication to the art a step further. They teach classes in Navajo weaving and go out of their way to encourage people to understand and appreciate the art. The two were featured on PBS in the show, “Craft in America”, last week and they will be teaching a class of people to weave at the base of Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly from April 19th through the 29th. There is still space available. You can find out more at www.loomdancerodysseys.com.
But today, I want to let Barbara tell you about a weaving that she wove in 1984 that is now available. I picked the weaving up from a couple in Colorado that has decided to sell their collection. I did not have Barbara’s email address, so I sent a photo of the weaving to Lynda (or Lyn, as Barbara calls her) and asked her to see if Barbara remembered it. I was really happy to see the following email from Barb show up in my inbox the next day:
Hi and Good Morning You Two!
Wow! never thought I would see that weaving again. When I saw it this morning, all my memories came flooding back.
I demonstrated at Santa Fe Indian Market in 84. The weaving I was working on was bought by a guy from Colorado Springs who had a gallery there. Bill Heller, I'm sure you knew him. Anyway, we took the weaving up to him and decided to take a side trip to Denver to visit Lyn. We’d never been to Denver or to my sister's house. It was a fun trip with my ex-husband Dave and Sierra who was 4 at the time. I also just found out I was going to have my Michael. We spent the weekend with Lyn and on Monday morning, we experienced car trouble, We had a white Ford Tempo. So we decided to go to the Ford dealership to have the car checked on. I remembered Joe Tanner's Gallery was near the car place, I had consigned the weaving to him and thought I would check on it.
We walked into Joe's place and my weaving was on the counter with a couple looking at it. Joe was so shocked to see us. He said, “Oh my, and here is the weaver!” “Haha!” the couple said, “Is this a set up? Haha!” I told them, no. Fate and car trouble got us to come visit Joe's gallery. They also thought it was a good omen and bought my weaving. Amazing! I was having such a hard day here, making lots of rookie errors because I was pressed for time for market and my beautiful weaving shows up to give me my balance and restores my confidence in my work.
Someone, either Joe or the couple took a picture of us with the weaving. The next year when I was going to England, this was the picture they used. It was in the AZ republic, Navajo Times and the Farmington Daily Times. The picture was also used in England as an example of my work.
This is the first time I did only one warp per line.
It was so hard, I've seen my sister Roseann do it all the time and thought, if I wanted to push myself, I would do something almost like what she did. Haha! I was very proud of it. It was also the weaving that made me realize I could compete with my sister, who I thought and still think is the Greatest Weaver Ever!
I got a check from Joe for either $5000 or $6000. I can't remember. I’m not sure how much he added for himself. It was consigned so he didn't out right own it. These days I'm charging $18 per square inch. I hope this helps.
Thanks for sharing it with me.
Made my day!
Lynda, Barbara, Michael and Sierra---Ribbon Winners at Indian Market!
I want to point out that both Sierra and Michael, Barbara’s children, are world class weavers!
We are proud to offer this incredible weaving to our customers. I think it is pretty neat that this piece, which Barbara says was the breakthrough weaving for her, has come to market. It has a weft count of 84 per inch and measures 33 inches by 19 3/4 inches.
Unfortunately, the Colorado couple that bought the weaving from Joe Tanner have been experiencing some health issues and have asked us to lower the price of the weaving from $9000 to $6000. They want someone who really appreciates the weaving to own it.
Are you that person?
Thank you for following our blog!
Jackson Clark II