Master artists share their skills and cultural foundations in a range of textile workshops from weaving to basketry.
Tohono O’odham Basketry: Horsehair Miniatures and Yucca Plaques
Terrol Dew Johnson and Rosemarie Ramon
Join master basketweavers to learn the techniques used to create both traditional and contemporary Tohono O’odham (Papago) yucca baskets as well as miniature horsehair baskets. Learn the two primary traditional coil techniques used in both basket types: Closed-stitch (the sturdy inner coil is completely covered by hundreds of tight stitches which are woven directly next to one another); and Split-stitch (the inner coil is exposed by spacing stitches further apart; alternating stitches and “blank space,” creating mesmerizing designs and geometric patterns).
You will use horsehair and native plants of the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona. No dyes are used on either the horsehair or the plants – traditional weavers rely solely on the natural colors of desert plants including white yucca, green bear grass, and black devil’s claw, and horsehair colors range from red and black to white and brown. Learn about sustainable collecting, growing and the preparation of natural fibers for basketry.
Students may learn both techniques or choose to focus on either Yucca/Plant or Horsehair baskets. In addition, Terrol will hold extra sessions for those wishing to learn techniques he uses in making his non-traditional baskets – one of his specialties. On a field trip, students will collect local materials that may be used in these baskets.
Skill Level: All levels
Lab Fee: $85, includes all gathered and processed fibers and materials to complete one or two baskets; and the use of awls, needles and thimbles in class. Awls will be available for purchase in class. You may be asked to bring additional materials.
Enrollment limited to 15 students
Terrol Johnson (Tohono O’odham), community leader and artist, co-founded Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA), an organization dedicated to creating positive programs based in “the Desert People’s Way.” He has won top honors at Santa Fe Indian Market, O’odham Tash, Heard Museum Fair and more. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Heard Museum. He was honored for his community work with the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award.
Rosemarie Ramon (village of Covered Wells, AZ, in the Gu Achi district on the Tohono O’odham Nation). She has been weaving baskets since the age of seven. Her mother, renowned miniature horsehair basketweaver, Geneva Acosta, along with her father Arnold V. Ramon Sr. and Late grandmother Anita Marie Ramon taught her to weave horsehair, yucca and bear grass baskets. She shares her art with younger O’odham and non- O’odham of all ages. Her grandmother taught the important lesson, “Bi m’o h-tham ik, bi m’o ap”, meaning “Don’t hurry up, it will not come out right”. Rosemarie is inspired by this and when she weaves, she is relaxed and happy.
Rose Ann Hamilton
The Indian tribes of California produced baskets of great diversity and beauty, and the exquisite work of the Cahuilla is highly regarded. In recent years, the Cahuilla have experienced a revival in the art of basket-making. Learn how to create your own Cahuilla-style coiled basket using yucca, sumac, juncus and deer grass. On a field trip to the nearby Cahuilla Reservation, you will learn how to identify and prepare plants used in basket-making.
Skill Level: All levels
Lab fee: $45, includes materials, field trip and use of tools; you may be asked to bring additional materials.
Enrollment limited to 10 students
Rose Ann Hamilton (Cahuilla, Apapatkiktem clan) first learned from renowned Cahuilla basket-weaver Donna Largo at Idyllwild Arts in 1993. She has taught Cahuilla basket classes and presented at Cahuilla, Santa Rosa, Ramona and Agua Caliente reservations, as well as the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Autry Museum, Agua Caliente Museum, and San Manuel conferences at CSUSB and Crafton Hills College. She has participated in gatherings at Los Coyotes, Santa Ysabel, and Soboba reservations. She is the granddaughter of Rosanda Apapas Hopkins Tortez Lugo and the great-granddaughter of Antonia Casero, Cahuilla master weavers.
Navajo Weaving: Beginning & Intermediate
Barbara Ornelas & Lynda Pete
Learn the art of weaving from master Navajo weavers Barbara Teller Ornelas and Lynda Teller Pete, originally from Two Grey Hills and Newcomb, NM. While instructing and demonstrating, sisters Barbara and Lynda will share their family’s personal weaving stories and experiences, giving you a view into the world of Navajo weaving. According to Navajo oral tradition two holy people, Spider Woman and Spider Man, introduced weaving to the Navajo. Spider Man constructed the first loom, which was composed of sunshine, lightning, and rain; and Spider Woman taught the people how to weave on it. Spider Woman was discovered by the Holy Twins, the culture heroes of the Navajo Creation Story, in a small opening in the earth surrounded by an array of beautiful weavings. Entering her dwelling, the Holy Twins descended a ladder made of yarn, whereupon Spider Woman offered them knowledge of the world of weaving.
Beginners: Learn the traditional method of Navajo weaving and begin weaving with a pre-warped, upright Navajo loom. The majority of the week will be spent designing and learning how to weave a 12” x 16” rug. Includes a lesson on warping a loom. You may enroll for the full two weeks or only the first week.
Intermediate: If you have taken the course or have basic Navajo weaving training on an upright loom, you will explore more advanced techniques and patterns, and your rug may be any size. Bring rugs from previous summers to complete, or begin a new rug. You must bring your own loom, set up for weaving before class begins. Or, you may order a pre-warped loom at when registering online. You may enroll for the full two weeks or only the second week.
Tuition: $735 per week
Lab fee: $80 Beginners: includes the use of a pre-warped loom and all tools in class, four skeins of wool. Looms, additional wool, battens and combs will be available for purchase.
Intermediate students: No fee; wool and warp will be available for purchase. Option to order a pre-warped loom to use in class for $45 when you register online.
Enrollment limited to 10 students per week
Barbara Teller Ornelas is best known for her Navajo tapestry weavings (95–120 weft threads per inch). She has set several records with her weavings: she has won Best of Show at the Santa Fe Indian Market twice; she set a new record in 1987 by selling a weaving for $60,000 that she and her sister Rosann Lee made; and she wove the largest tapestry-style Navajo weaving on record. Barbara is a fifth-generation weaver who was raised near Two Grey Hills on the Navajo Reservation, where her father was a trader. She has been featured in National Geographic, Business Week, Americana and Native Peoples magazines, as well as many books. She has won dozens of awards, and has demonstrated and lectured at many museums and institutions around the world. She recently participated in a cultural exchange with Peruvian weavers at the request of the US State Department. Barbara and Lynda have taught their popular workshop at Idyllwild Arts for 20 summers.
Lynda Teller Pete began weaving at age 6 and won her first major award at age 12 at the Gallup Ceremonial. She has gone on to win many awards for her weaving, including Best of Classification for Textiles at the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market. Lynda collaborates with museums, schools and art venues in Colorado and around the country to teach about Navajo weaving. She is also known as an accomplished beadwork artist and has won many awards for this work.
Beginning Shoemaking: Open Back Slip-on Shoes & Sandals
Learn how to measure feet, tape a last (the form on which a shoe is made), develop a pattern, cut and sew an upper and sole, finish a simple slip-on shoe or sandal. This is an introduction to shoemaking so no prior experience is necessary but sewing skills are a big help. We will be hands-on in this class with students completing each step, while learning a little about shoemaking history.
To make sure all students actually achieve success, all students will make the same simple slip-on pattern or sandal but will be encouraged to trim, dye, paint or stamp their leather to make their shoes unique. Debra will share the many embellishing techniques for which she is so well-known. Walk out of class in style, wearing your own hand-made creation.
Skill Level: Basic manual skills for tracing and cutting of parts and machine sewing skills are helpful.
Lab Fee: $125, includes leather, soles/footbeds and other materials, lasts and hand tools for use in class; you may be asked to bring additional materials.
Enrollment limited to 8 students
Debra Hovel is a designer and shoemaker living and working in Palm Springs, with a fabrication studio in Pinyon Flats, CA, called Makerville. The Architecture and Design Museum in Palm Springs is currently featuring her shoes in the exhibition Illuminated Objects. She recently presented a lecture on shoemaking at the Palm Springs Art Museum that featured a design studio tour. Debra is an active member of the Honorable Cordwainer Company and the Footwear Symposium and an enthusiastic believer in the philosophy of making. debrahovelfootwear.com, instagram.com/debrahovelfootwear, twitter.com/trendchick