Arts of the Southwest Series

Woven Spirits: Navajo and Hopi Weavers

Woven Spirits

DVD: $19.95

For the Hopi and Navajo people, art is inseparable from daily life and traditional culture. In this video, two women who have mastered the art of weaving share insights about the skills, traditions and cultural meaning of their work.

Navajo weaver Paula Sunrise tells how Spider Woman taught her ancestors to build a loom and coax beauty from the tangled wool of the sheep. Hopi weaver Ramona Sakiestewa explores the spiritual dimensions of Hopi weaving that are revealed in her rugs and blankets. For both women, the process of creating beauty is as important as the finished work.

Woven Spirits also traces the history of Southwestern weaving by showcasing rare examples of early Navajo weaving and the development of classic designs and styles. It explores the impact that the railroad, Indian traders, and the broader American marketplace had on Native American weaving. And it shows how contemporary artists are reinterpreting ancient patterns and expressing individual creativity while remaining true to a cherished cultural and artistic tradition.

  • As seen on public television