The Art & Tradition of Navajo Textiles

begayLucy and Ellen Begay, mother and daughter, spent their lives living in the northeast part of Arizona in the land of the Diné, or Navajo, people. For the Diné, weaving has always had strong cultural value, and for Lucy and Ellen it has always been part of life’s daily rhythm. Author and collector Gary Beaudoin will discuss the Begays’ work and share examples of their artistry when he speaks at the Downtown Bend Library on Tuesday, May 27, at 6pm. This program is free and open to the public.


From the Diné perspective, beauty is not something described; rather it is something experienced and created. “Creativity and the making of art is a cornerstone of Navajo culture,” says Beaudoin. He says that the Begays’ weaving takes diverse design elements and places them into balance. That balance and harmony is something the Diné call hozho: conducting one’s life in a meaningful way. “As you find yourself watching a weaving, different design elements come into focus,” he says. “The designs play with negative-positive space, where foreground becomes background and vice versa.”


Gary Beaudoin is the author of Unbroken Web: The Art of Ellen & Lucy Begay, Navajo Weavers. He is the keeper of a collection of Navajo textiles by the Begays. The collection spans 20 years of their work. Each weaving is one-of-a-kind finely woven textile.They life a pastoral lifestyle where the land and is many aspects is an inspiration in the designs they weave. They say they weave “what they see.”

People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Tina at 541-312-1034.

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