Friday, June 11, 2010

The Natural Fiber Art of Two Grey Hills

These two trading post signs along the two lane highway 491 (formerly 666) mark the turnoff to an unforgettable and very unique world class shopping experience. This remote, rugged, and hostile appearing desert area of the Navajo Nation is the birth place of the much celebrated Two Grey Hill rug. These were first woven in the early 1900s, and are now internationally recognized as the pinnacle of the art of Navajo weaving. There are several well recognized regionally based classification of Navajo rugs, examples include, the Klatogh, Wide Ruins, Ganado, Hubbell, and Chinle styles. But the Two Grey Hills rugs are commonly distinguished as the Cadillac. Two Grey Hills rugs are available throughout the Southwest and in high end outlets throughout the world, but there is no better place to buy one of these than at the two old historic trading posts long grounded in the Two Grey Hills landscape. Both are charming and are run by dedicated trader-owners. The posts are very contrasting, but complimentary. Both proprietors deserve credit for keeping the art and tradition alive and well. The Toadlena unit has a marvelous museum display that pulls in heavy traffic and tour buses. A visit to the region is not complete without a stop at both places and the acquisition of at least one rug. They range in price from around $50 for a small work then steeply upward well into the five figure price range for the large rugs or very tightly woven supreme quality tapestries.

Churro sheep graze free range over field and road in this area of sun parched austere pasture, sandstone mesas, and massive rock formations, but the land gives way to some seasonally green bear and elk country which begins in the foothills of the background Chuska Mountain range where the Toadlena Trading Post is located.

The lush grey rug wool from this Churro sheep has already been harvested for this year.

We concluded our own purchase pondering with the acquisition of this Two Grey Hills classic rug by master weaver Helen Begay. The 19 x 28 inch rug was completed in February of this year. Price $395.