One day, right after the Navajo Nation had been re-opened as the pandemic eased, a lovely woman walked into the gallery with her daughter. She was wearing a long, ankle-length dress, a sweater, and a mask. Wrapped in a cloth, she had what was obviously a weaving.
I knew we’d never met before and introduced myself. She didn’t reach out her hand to shake mine, but she said, “Hello, I am Bernyce Largo, and I have a rug.”
During this time, we had very few weavers coming into the gallery. One of the sad results of this whole pandemic has been the number of weavers who have quit.
I asked her how she had heard about us and, her daughter, who is in her late 20s, said, “Gramma Morgan told me I should bring my mom to see you.”
“You mean Mae Morgan?” I asked.“Yes,” she replied. “My mom used to be married to her son.”
I was a little surprised as I thought I knew everyone in Mae’s family. But you never really know everything about anybody!
It turns out that this granddaughter is very close to Mae and visits her often. Bernyce works in Crown Point, New Mexico, not far from where Mae and her daughters live. She is also an excellent weaver, creating mostly small and beautifully designed rugs.
“I didn’t weave a lot when I was working full-time,” she explained, "but now I am really enjoying it.”
She is just a wonderful woman and we’re lucky that we got to know her. Sometimes she’ll call and bring a weaving up and sometimes she’ll text me a photo and say, “It’s in the mail!” if she can’t get away.
Hopefully, Bernyce is going to be weaving for some years to come.One of the hopes that I have had for years is that as women retire from the workforce and have more time and money, they will be drawn back to the loom. There are many younger weavers who know how to weave, but modern life just doesn’t make it possible. And who could argue that the most important thing for them is to be able to support their families and you can’t do that simply by weaving, no matter how good you are or how much you get for your rugs.
With gas, groceries, clothing, and everything going up, it is even harder. The most exciting thing I ever hear from a young woman is, “I am going to college,” or a trade school. Every trader or dealer that I have ever known wants the best possible life for the people they work with.
That said, it is great fun to be able to work with a woman who is coming back into the “Weavers World!”