Kinfolk is a quarterly print magazine that collects ideas from a growing international community of artists, writers, designers, photographers, cooks and others who are interested in creating small gatherings and finding new things to make and do. I was commissioned to write a social history piece for Issue 13.
Dream Weavers -- Published for digital and print, September 2014
Words by Nicole Varvitsiotes Photograph by Craig Johnson
DRAWING FROM NAVAJO LEGEND, THE NATIVE WEAVERS OF SPIDER ROCK HAVE BEEN INCORPORATING PURPOSEFUL IMPERFECTIONS INTO THEIR DESIGNS FOR YEARS. INTENDED AS A WAY TO KEEP THEIR MINDS UNATTACHED AND OPEN TO PROGRESS, THIS HUMBLE PRACTICE CAN TEACH US A LOT ABOUT OUR OWN CREATIVE PROCESSES.
High above the sun-punished floor of Canyon de Chelly in a sandstone spire known as Spider Rock, Spider Woman once wove on a loom that Spider Man made for her out of sunshine, lightning and rain. While the details of this Navajo folklore have become elusive with time, native weaver Emily Malone—whose family has created distinct Spider Rock designs for generations—explains how her people learned to weave:
“It’s only in winter that we tell the story about twin boys who made a journey to their father, the sun,” Emily says. “On the way they met Spider Woman, and she invited them into her house. It was a small home, and the boys asked her how they could fit in. Suddenly, a big opening appeared for them to go through, and inside were all different kinds of weavings. She told them to let their mother come and she would teach her how to weave.” Read More