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Family of Navajo weavers at Mariposa Friday night

Fifth generation Navajo weavers Lynda Teller Pete and Barbara Teller Ornelas will give a presentation about their experience growing up on a Navajo reservation in family of a multi-generational weavers at the Mariposa Museum on Friday at 7 p.m.

They will share a short film “Loom with a View,” which was made by Ornelas’s daughter Sierra for the Gloria Ross Tapestry Center Arizona State Museum, and many images and samples of their family’s remarkable work.

Pete and Ornelas will also give an ongoing weaving demonstration from at the Mariposa for Children and the Arts, Saturday, May 17, 9-11 a.m.

Weaving is a legacy in the Teller family. For more than five generations, grandmothers, mother, sisters, aunts, and cousins have produced award-winning rugs in the traditional Two Grey Hills pattern. Identified primarily by a double-diamond layout and intricate geometric design using natural colored, hand-carded and hand-spun wool, these rugs are easily recognizable. They are known for their high weft count of above 80 in a one-inch square measurement.

In addition to this fine weave, the family uses a trademark rich brown wool for the inside color field, turning to maternal Aunt Margaret Yazzie and her flock of sheep to supply the necessary wool for their tapestries.

Their maternal grandmother, Susie Tom, and her paternal grandmother, Nellie Peshlakai Teller, made sure their daughters and granddaughters learned the art of weaving. They emphasized many practices, such as respecting the loom; preparing one’s own wool via shearing, carding and spinning; the production and proper care of weaving tools; and paying attention to design elements, always emphasizing the importance of intricate patterns and color combinations. They set high standards and shared the belief that beauty and harmony should be woven into every rug.

Born into the Tabaaha (Water Edge Clan) and born for the To’aheedliinii (Two Waters Flow Together Clan), Pete and Ornelas, along with their siblings were raised at their family home in Newcomb, N.M. On a yearly basis, the family took up residence behind the Two Grey Hills Trading Post, where their father worked as a trader and their mother demonstrated weaving, attracting a constant flow of tourists. Ruth Teller’s rugs were so prized that tourists often purchased them right off the loom.

The death of their sister Rosann Teller Lee in 1996 had a profound effect on the entire weaving family. An extraordinary weaver, Rosann was considered one of the best Two Grey Hills Tapestry weavers in the world. She was innovative in her weaving process but never compromised the standards set by her elders. Her weaving tools were passed on to her older sister and Master Weaver Ornelas who with Pete recognized the need to keep the weaving talents strong in the family and teaching family members became a priority. The 6th and the 7th generations of Teller weavers are being taught these skills and some are producing award-winning tapestries collected by museums and in private collections.

Both highly accomplished weavers in their own right, the two women have won several major awards for their Two Grey Hill Tapestries. They teach Navajo Weaving nationwide and collaborate with museums, schools, guilds and other art venues to teach the public about Navajo Weaving.

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for children, and free for museum members.

For more information, call 924-4555 or visit www.mariposamuseum.org.

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