Weaving & Textiles

Master artists share their skills and cultural foundations in a range of textile workshops from weaving to basketry.

Courses - All programs below are open for enrollment unless indicated.
= Native American Arts

Navajo Weaving: Beginning & Intermediate

Barbara Ornelas & Lynda Pete
June 17-21
June 24-28

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.

Special Treat for Week 2/Intermediate Weaving Students!

Navajo weavers in regional areas of the Navajo Nation have been dyeing wool for their weavings to create beautiful rugs, tapestries, throws and blankets. Early Navajo weavers began using natural plant dyes as far back as the 1700s and have continued to employ varying methods to produce an array of color, shades, hints and hues.  Plants are gathered according to seasons to get different hues.   In modern times, we use kitchen scraps, dried dye matter and grind them before use.  Navajo weaving students will choose white wool or some colored wool for over-dyeing, tie and immerse in alum for the first day  The second day, we will extract dye by boiling onion skins, navajo tea, cochineal, logwood and brazil wood, let them cool in stainless steel pots.  On the third day, we will immerse the wool and students can get a chance to experiment with their dyeing.  All supplies and equipment are provided.

Tuition: $755 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.
Click here for Materials List
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.

Haida Basketry: Spoon Baskets

Lisa Telford
June 17-21

For the Haida of the Pacific Northwest, basketry was essential for survival years ago – baskets were used to gather, store and cook food. The instructor continues creating basketry to celebrate the beauty of nature. Even though basketry was functional, the Haida always included a bit of beauty in each work basket.

In this class, you will create a spoon basket. Long ago when potlatches were held you would bring your own spoon; returning home, you would store your spoon in a spoon basket. Using western red cedar and Alaska yellow cedar bark, you will learn two and three strand twining, the cross warp stitch (fish eye), how to incorporate design, and a three strand out ending, for an 8×8” spoon basket. You will use color to incorporate your bit of beauty.

Lisa harvests and prepares her own material, using red and yellow cedar bark. Harvesting cedar bark takes her hundreds of miles from home and takes many hours of preparation time. Materials are prepared differently depending on the final product. The bark is traditionally stored for one year and then further processing is required before weaving may start.

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $755
Lab Fee: $95, includes materials, gathered and prepared by the artist, and use of tools; you may be asked to bring additional materials.
Materials List: Coming Soon
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Lisa Telford is a Git’ans Git’anee Haida weaver, born in Ketchikan, AK. Her award-winning work is done in both contemporary and traditional methods of weaving including twined and plaited. Her work encompasses baskets, traditional hats, and cedar bark clothing. Her baskets are in the collections of the Burke Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Heard Museum, Schingoethe Center of Aurora University, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Arizona State University Art Museum, the Autry Museum, Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Historical Society.

Cahuilla Basketry

Rose Ann Hamilton
June 24-28

The Indian tribes of California produced baskets of great diversity and beauty, and the exquisite work of the Cahuilla is highly regarded. Over the last three decades, the Cahuilla have experienced a revival in the art of basket-making. Learn how to create your own Cahuilla-style coiled basket using yucca, juncus and deer grass. On the second day of class, you will take a field trip to the nearby Cahuilla Reservation, where you will learn how to identify, gather and prepare plants used in basket-making.

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $755
Lab fee: $45, includes materials, field trip and use of tools; you may be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for Materials List
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, Agua Caliente, Los Coyotes, Santa Ysabel, San Manuel, and Morongo Indian 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. Her inspiration and passion for the art of basketweaving came from her grandmother Rosanda Apapas Hopkins Tortez Lugo and great-grandmother Antonia Casero, Cahuilla master weavers.

The Beaded Cuff

Jennifer Ben
June 21-23

In this 3-day workshop, you will be introduced to the beadwork designs and techniques of Jennifer Ben, master Navajo bead artist. Using quality materials and detailed hands-on instructions and demonstrations, you will design and construct a beaded cuff bracelet from start to finish. On day one, you will design your bracelet, set up your own bead loom, and begin beading with glass seed beads, problem-solving at each step. On the following days, you will continue to bead, and will learn to cut, file and shape the brass cuff insert. After completing the beaded strip, you will tie off warp ends, prepare and cut your leather backing, and put the three elements together to complete your bracelet. In order to finish your piece, Jennifer encourages students to continue beading in the evenings. She will provide ongoing informal critiques throughout the workshop to support completion and success for all students.

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Tuition: $495
Lab Fee: $95 includes brass, glass beads, leather, bead loom, and use of all materials in class; you may be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Jennifer Ben is from the Diné (Navajo) Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico and is a student at both Arizona State University and Mesa Community College studying music theory and cello performance. Jennifer has worked extensively as an artist in residence and demonstration at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ. Jennifer has also participated in prominent shows like the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market in Phoenix, AZ.  Her work reflects her various passions such as music, food sovereignty, traditional farming methodologies, Diné philosophy as well as taking inspiration from master artists around the world. 

Additional workshops you may be interested in:

Marbling on Paper and Textiles
Articulated Binding and Clamshell