Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Art of the Dine

The official word of the week here is, "Navajo," as it is a recognizable name for a Native people (and depending on the source, the largest, or second-largest, population of  Native Americans--about 300,000. Compare that to the total population of the USA of 350 million). It can be spelled differently, with a "b" or an "h," especially since the "j" sounds like an "h." In describing themselves, they call themselves, "Indians," but collectively they are the Dine Nation.
[Note: the "e" has an accent, so it's pronounced, "Dee Nay"].
The Dine live in the northeast corner of Arizona and their reservation crosses into New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. They keep different time than the rest of Arizona, quite literally and figuratively. We could write many a page on their relationship to the Earth, their spiritual beliefs and lifestyle. For now, we will stick to their more creative endeavors.
From the Spanish conquistadores and the Mexicans after them, the Dine learned silver smithing and rug-weaving. Here are a few examples:

This is a "Squash Blossom" necklace, silver with turquoise.

This an antique wool rug with a fascinating color palette.

The "Tree of Life" is a recurring theme for the pictorial blankets which show a corn stalk growing from a ceremonial basket with birds or other animals. These are to signify major life events (such as a wedding), abundance and good fortune, at least to our understanding.

The Navajo language is very difficult to understand, from our perspective. And we're not the only ones. During WWII a group of Marine Corps code talkers were able to get messages past the Japanese with their unique code.

This I can understand; it's just beautiful (to me, anyway):

That would be a (close-up of a) seed pot. Put seeds inside and to sow, tilt it just so and the seeds pop out, although this one is probably merely decorative. The clay is the color of the soil, high in iron. Drive through there and the car is that same rust color!

On the reservation are many a stall set up to sell a variety of wares, such as ceramics, rugs and jewelry. While most of the choices are outside our budget, we have come away with small pieces, similar to this beaded lighter case:

They are a proud people. They should be most proud of their Utah real estate at Monument Valley. You may recognize this from the movie, Forrest Gump?

All the time we've driven through there, I've never been crazy enough to stop and take that photograph. Stand in the middle of that road? No way! Are you crazy?!

While that should be plenty of inspiration, there's still room for a little Zen.

From Caren Mlot, CZT, we have the tangle, "Navaho." As she writes on her blog, "patterns are everywhere." You just have to know where to look!

Show us your "Navajo" twinchies! Send your two-inch art to:
1xeritas@gmail.com by 2PM, Tuesday, August 9, 2016 along with a blog link or your thoughts and we'll post them later the same day. Thanks for taking the TwobyTwo challenge!


  1. I am very excited for this one. I did alot of research for my pattern

    1. Awesome! There is so much inspiration to be gained from the Navajo. We are blessed to live near--a few hours drive will get us to the first trading post, a veritable oasis in the desert.
      We're all looking forward to what you create, always! c

    2. That sounds so cool! Thanks so much for the compliment