Esther Etcitty was born in 1944 in a traditional Navajo Hogan near Sanostee, New Mexico, about thirty miles southwest of Shiprock. The major trading posts for Navajo weaving in that area are Two Grey Hills and Toadlena. She attended boarding school in Sanostee and in Albuquerque but did not finish because she was needed at home to help with the family.
Esther is one of the featured weavers in Mark Winter's book, The Master Weavers, Celebrating One Hundred Years of Navajo Textile Artists from the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills Weaving Region.
Her weavings are different than most of the work featured in the book. As a young weaver, she made traditional Two Grey Hills styles and some geometric weavings, but about 25 years ago she found her own pattern. She started weaving natural wool colored pictorials with Kokopelli (the hump back flute player) as the predominate design. This mythological figure is commonly found in the rock art of the area.It also includes horned toad, sheep, rock art figures and Yei’s woven into the background.
Etcitty is one of the few weavers acknowledged by Winter as a Master Weaver who does not make geometric patterned rugs. She has laid her claim to having created one of the most unique individual artist designs in Navajo weaving.
Her daughter, Lovita Etcitty, is following in Esther’s footsteps and weaving Kokopelli patterned pieces with hand spun wool. I like these weavings for a lot of reasons, but primarily because they are well made pieces woven with hand spun wool, which is rare today, and because they step out of the traditional while still maintaining their connection to the past. These are fun weavings by two creative artists!