Ruth Nelwood has created this all-natural vegetal two-in-one design rug with a Wide Ruins and Storm Pattern Design. Wide Ruins is a complex style of Navajo weaving identified by its finely woven horizontal bands and rich vegetal tones.
Developed in the 1940s at the Wide Ruins Trading Post in northeastern Arizona, it drew upon the regional style from nearby Chinle. Like Chinle rugs, Wide Ruins rugs have no borders, but are usually more intricate in design and their use of color.
The design features very narrow stripes and geometrics like arrows and chevrons contained within banded panels. These thin-banded lines are extremely difficult to create, and demonstrate Navajo weavers' high level of skill.
The Wide Ruins color scheme usually consists of earth tones and pastels created from vegetal dyes, including browns, tans, olive greens, deep yellows, and deep reds and blushes. Gray, white, and black hues are used sparingly. One of the most artful and expressive types of Navajo weaving, the Wide Ruins rug style is a masterful example of Navajo craftsmanship.
Storm rugs are a celebrated style of Navajo weaving that may have developed in the western portion of the Navajo reservation in the early 20th century. This symmetrical, bordered style features a square or rectangle at its center with lines radiating out from there to each of the rug’s four corners.
This defining design may be accented with other geometric forms such as zigzags, arrows, diamonds, and stair-step patterns. The most common color scheme combines red, black, gray, and white created from commercial dyes, though today many weavers experiment with color in their Storm pattern rugs, and even combine it with other regional styles.
- Rug handmade by Ruth Nelwood (Navajo)
- Genuine 2 in 1 Design Navajo rug
- Natural undyed, hand-carded and homespun sheep wool
- Rug measures 16” x 19”
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Ruth Nelwood is a Navajo master weaver who specializes in Storm and Burntwater style rugs. She lives in the Pine Springs area of the Navajo Nation, and her use of color beautifully showcases the captivating natural elements of the Southwest.
Storm rugs are a celebrated style of Navajo weaving that may have developed in the western portion of the Navajo reservation in the early 20th century.
This symmetrical bordered style features a square or rectangle at its center with lines radiating out from there to each of the rug’s four corners. This defining design may be accented with other geometric forms such as zigzags, arrows, diamonds, and stair-step patterns.
The most common color scheme combines red, black, gray, and white created from commercial dyes, though today many weavers experiment with color in their Storm pattern rugs, and even combine it with other regional styles.
The meaning and symbolism of the Storm pattern is a source of debate, though many believe the central square represents the home and the four corners represent the Navajo people’s four sacred mountains.
Other geometric designs likely represent mountains, snow, rain, lightning and other elements of nature. Today the Storm pattern has become one of the most popular styles of Navajo weaving and is one of the most prized by collectors.
For nearly two centuries, Navajo rugs have been highly sought-after trade items, prized for their beauty and quality. Anthropologists believe the Navajo people were introduced to weaving in the 17th century by the Pueblo people, who had been growing and weaving cotton for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spanish.
Navajo weavers primarily used wool from the churro sheep brought by the Spanish. The Navajo believe that Spider Boy gave them their first loom and that Spider Woman taught them how to weave.
Early Navajo blankets were simple in design and used very little color. By the middle of the 19th century, Navajo “chief’s blankets” had become a highly valued trade good, known for their softness and quality, and were traded as far away as the Great Plains. Styles were influenced by Spanish and Mexican weaving and artists began to add some geometric patterns such as rectangles and diamond shapes.
Navajo weaving declined in the late 19th century as more manufactured clothing and goods arrived with the railroads and demand decreased. Around the turn of the century, traders like J.L. Hubbell, C.N. Cotton, and John B. Moore encouraged the revival of Navajo weaving, believing rugs could be marketed to audiences in the Eastern United States. As the only significant customers of Navajo rugs at this time, these traders had a significant impact on the direction of Navajo weaving. They introduced their own design concepts and, as a result, particular weaving styles developed around trading posts, such as Two Grey Hills and Ganado.
Navajo weavers also turned to vegetal dyes at this time, and in a few decades became known for the unsurpassed quality of their rugs and tapestries. Today Navajo rugs are prized for their artistry and craftsmanship and considered among the most valuable in the world.Read our Native American Rugs Collector's Guide.
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