Navajo Churro Wool from Paonia, Colorado. Dyed with Rabbit Brush.
The soft, dusty yellow-gold color is softly soothing and reminiscent of summer days when the Rabbit Brush is blooming throughout our Rocky Mountain area.
To begin the work, I gathered seven pounds of Rabbit Brush plants on the Grand Mesa (Colorado), then cleaned, boiled and strained it to produce two gallons of dye. The fragrance of the boiling liquid filled my kitchen with a lush sensory invitation.
The wool is a portion of 22 fleeces from a Paonia Churro grower, which I "picked" to remove clinging plant materials, hand-washed, then vat-dyed and firmly wet-felted and needle-felted into a very sturdy rug/tapestry for floor or wall. Another portion of the wool was finely sorted and combed into roving by a fiber mill in Hotchkiss, Colorado. This particular rug was later featured in my gallery show at the Montrose Center for the Arts and at Aspen Saturday Market.
The process of transforming raw wool and plant material into a beautiful, unique product is lengthy but very satisfying to me as an aesthetic and sensual experience, as well as for the opportunity to participate in preservation of an almost-lost sheep breed.
Size 44" x 40", plus 6-15" bottom fringe. Free shipping US and Canada.
Colors are a range of rich golds to warm creams, with curly Mohair accents and felted Shibori textures.
This work is dedicated to the preservation of the Navajo Churro sheep, once-threatened with extinction through US government attempts to replace it with other breeds. Having been bred through many generations by the Navajo Nation, the Churro sheep is valued for its excellent adaptation to the arid high desert environment of the Southwestern US. Churro wool, highly valued for its strong and resilient fiber in spinning and weaving quality rugs and blankets, is now making a slow but steady comeback in the hands of the Dine (the People of the Navajo Nation) and small family sheep ranches, with the cooperation of a few scattered fiber mills, spinners, weavers and knitters.
A portion of the sale from this work will go to the Navajo Search and Rescue Team of Show Low, Arizona, in honor of the volunteers, Dine friends, who have endured so much and have given unselfishly during the Pandemic.
These highly textured Rocky Mountain tapestries in natural and plant-dyed colors have beautifully enhanced both rustic and urban homes and offices in Colorado and other regions of the country. Each is unique, custom designed for your individual taste -whether tiny home, mountain lodge or upscale architectural modern settings.
Today, as we begin to regain sensibilities lost in the horrifying Pandemic, the younger generation (and a Grandma or two) have designated these very tactile and appealing works as "Cottagecore" or "Grandmacore" - a contemporary expression of traditional values. Recently, Architectural Digest has documented this trend as "Vintage Maximalism" - brighter colors and handcrafted textures, following on the heels of widespread preference for neutral, minimalist decor.