Discover the cultural history and artistry of contemporary and vintage Navajo weavings at the 6th annual Navajo Rug Sale and Silent Auction, presented by the Natural History Museum of Utah in partnership with Toh-Atin Gallery of Durango, CO. — Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rio Tinto Center, 301 Wakara Way, University of Utah.
Nearly 150 handcrafted rugs will be on display, available for silent bid, or as “buy it now” items at 20% over the minimum bid (if no outstanding bid exists). Each rug is the creative work of a unique Navajo artist, “the only tribal people in the world still weaving on the upright traditional loom with no mechanical shuttles or mechanical aids of any kind,” according to H. Jackson Clark II, owner of Toh-Atin Gallery, Native American art trader and expert on Navajo weaving.
Clark will be available all day to answer questions, conduct a walking tour of the rugs on display (about 2 p.m.) and provide free restoration and evaluation advice for people who would like to bring in a rug for examination from their own personal collection (10 a.m. to noon).
“My love of Navajo weaving is really an extension of my sincere respect for the Navajo people,” says Clark. “Weaving takes a long time… and years to perfect the techniques… yet, today many weavers are producing the finest pieces to ever come off of a Navajo loom.” Clark and his sister Antonia, spent much of their growing up years at their grandfather’s trading post in Northern New Mexico.
“Preparing the wool, dying it and then weaving the intricate patterns for today’s rugs takes many months and sometimes years. Young Navajos who would like to continue this cultural tradition find it hard to earn a living from weaving alone and fewer young weavers are continuing the work,” says Suzanne Ruhlman, manager of the rug sale and the Museum store.
From the early traditions as a wearing blanket, to floor rugs and more recently as unique pieces of fine art, Navajo weavings are continually evolving and still highly prized by art lovers and collectors alike.
Admission to the show and sale is free to the public. Rugs range in price from $100 to $20,000, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Museum. Silent auction bidding ends at 4:00 p.m. For additional information and details, visit: https://nhmu.utah.edu/navajo.
About the Natural History Museum of Utah
The Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah is a premier scientific research and cultural institution. It opened to the public in 1969 and moved into a spectacular, award-winning new home in 2011 at the Rio Tinto Center in Salt Lake City. The Museum’s 30 scientists oversee active field research programs throughout Utah and elsewhere and help care for natural history collections of more 1.6 million objects. The Museum offers innovative exhibitions and educational programs to thousands of residents and visitors each year, including timely and interactive temporary and permanent exhibits, numerous special events and other programs. The Museum reaches 450,000 people annually and in communities and classrooms statewide.