Thursday, February 17, 2011

Toadlena Trading Post

I have been on the road for a couple of days and spent yesterday and today at the Toadlena Trading post.  I wanted to spend some time at the Trading Post to soak in the environment and look for some people to paint.  I found some local Navajo people to paint and got a taste of life on the Rez.  There is a small Navajo community in the area and lots of characters wander in all day.  The view from the Toadlena Trading Post shows the famous Two Gray Hills.  This region is known for its weavers.  Mark Winter, who runs the Trading Post supports almost every rug weaver in this community.  He purchases and sells the rugs at the Trading Post.  While I was there I witnessed a few Grandmothers come in to sell their recently completed rugs to Mark.  He is very fair with them and tries to keep them happy so they keep producing work and keep bringing their work to Mark for first pick.

The Toadlena Trading Post
Mark and his staff encourage these weavers to do their best work and do their best to get the younger generation involved in weaving.  Mark buys every single first weaving that is brought to him by members of the community.  Some of the large tapestry weavings can take a year or two to produce. 

I was able to meet one of the Grandmothers named Virginia, who I am told is like the Mozart of weaving.  She demonstrated how she spins her wool and did a bit of weaving for me as well.  

Virginia Deal, the "Mozart of Navajo Weavers" at work
The interior of the Trading Post feels like it must have in the old days.  There is a big nickel plated stove inside and an old barber chair for visitors to sit in while gossiping about the latest goings on in Toadlena.

The counter at the Trading Post. 
The Toadlena Trading post is located just 45 minutes north of Gallup, NM.  It is well worth the drive to visit.  I plan on coming back again soon.  

Next up, headed to Santa Fe...