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Navajo Weaving III

Advanced: Advanced students are encouraged to complete larger works from previous classes or summers. In this advanced class, you will have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a deeper study of Navajo weaving techniques. This class will introduce weaving techniques such as diagonals and pictorials and share information about the mathematics employed to execute intricate weaving designs. An in-depth study will provide the vital context of the importance of Navajo weaving in Navajo culture historically and today. Barbara and Lynda will also lead discussions on Navajo trading post styles, abstracts, landscapes, and period pieces from the mid-1800s. At the end of class, you will get to take home your finished rug(s) and have a more profound knowledge of Navajo weaving.

  • Dyeing Your Wool: Special Treat for Week II / Intermediate and Week III / Advanced Weaving Students!

Navajo weavers in regional areas of the Navajo Nation have been dyeing wool for their weavings to create beautiful rugs, tapestries, throws, and blankets. Early Navajo weavers began using natural plant dyes as far back as the 1700s and have continued to employ varying methods to produce an array of colors, shades, tints, and hues. Plants are gathered according to seasons to get different hues. We use kitchen scraps and dried dye matter in modern times and grind them before use. Students will choose white wool or colored wool for over-dyeing and tie and immerse it in an alum solution. On the second day, we will extract dye by boiling onion skins, Navajo tea, cochineal, logwood, and brazilwood and cool them in stainless steel pots. On the third day, we will immerse the wool, and students can get a chance to experiment with their dyeing. All supplies and equipment are provided with a $20 supplies fee when registering online.

According to Navajo oral tradition, two holy people, Spider Woman and Spider Man introduced weaving to the Navajo. Spider Man constructed the first loom, which was composed of sunshine, lightning, and rain, and Spider Woman taught the people how to weave on it. Spider Woman was discovered by the Holy Twins, the culture heroes of the Navajo Creation Story, in a small opening in the earth surrounded by an array of beautiful weavings. Entering her dwelling, the Holy Twins descended a ladder made of yarn, at which point Spider Woman offered them knowledge of the world of weaving.


  • Padded cushion for your seat
  • Back support device
  • Clamp on light
  • Clip on fan for comfort
  • Reading glasses if necessary

Barbara Teller Ornelas (Diné) is best known for her ultra-fine Navajo tapestry weavings (95–120 weft threads per inch). She has set several records with her weavings, winning Best of Show twice at the Santa Fe Indian Market. She set a new record in 1987 by selling a weaving for $60,000 that she and her sister Rosann Lee made; this historic weaving is the largest tapestry-style Navajo weaving on record. Barbara is a fifth-generation weaver raised near Two Grey Hills, AZ, on the Navajo Nation. Barbara and her work are featured in many publications including, National Geographic, Business Week, Americana, Native American Art, and First American Art Magazines, among many others. She has won dozens of awards and has demonstrated and lectured at many museums and institutions worldwide. 

Lynda Teller Pete (Diné) began weaving at age six and won her first major award at age 12 at the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial Art Show in Gallup, New Mexico. She has gone on to win many awards for her weaving, including Best of Classification for Textiles at the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market. Lynda collaborates with museums, schools, and art venues in Colorado and the country to teach about Navajo weaving. She is also known as an accomplished beadwork artist and has won many awards for this work. Barbara and Lynda published their first book, Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today, in 2018. 

Native American & Inland Empire Teacher Scholarships 

Generous donors have made scholarships and fellowships for adult workshops available on a limited basis for these specific groups:

  1. Native American Community Leaders, Artists, Members, and Teachers
  2. Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students

Scholarships include tuition, dorm housing, and all meals provided by the campus dining service.

Scholarship Details: 

  1. Native American Community Members, Leaders, Artists, and Teachers
    For adults 19 and older with current tribal affiliation, the scholarship brings community leaders, artists, members, and teachers to workshops at Idyllwild Arts to benefit both the scholarship recipients themselves and those in their schools or tribal communities. Applicants with financial needs may receive priority. We also offer scholarships for Native American Teens for both the Summer Program and the Academy.
  2. Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students
    For teachers and graduate students from the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and the adjacent areas), this scholarship brings teachers and graduate students to Idyllwild Arts to attend Native American Arts workshops. The Native American Arts Workshops benefit both recipients and their students and communities, providing culturally appropriate instruction and professional development to teachers and graduate students. Applicants with financial needs may receive priority. These scholarships are made possible through the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians.

Click here for more information about adult scholarships.

Age: 19 years and above

Dates: June 26- 30, 2023
Five-day session

Tuition, room, and board: $1,600

Day student tuition: $840

Lab Fee: $20

Skill Level: Advanced

Enrollment is limited to 12 students

Faculty: Barbara Ornelas and Lynda Teller Pete

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