More than three decades ago, Navajo weaver Nanabah Aragon first began participating in Santa Fe Indian Market. An award-winning artist, Aragon has shown her pieces in markets and exhibitions around the country. She also has been invited to lead demonstrations and has even recorded videos about Navajo weaving, as she enjoys teaching and sharing her craft with others.
As a child, Aragon was always interested in weaving and began learning the techniques at age 7. She began by shearing sheep, cleaning the wool using the same methods as her mother and dyeing some of it to rich reds and blacks. The process was something she thrived upon, explaining, “It was like my toy, something to play with.”
When viewing her artwork, people will often ask Aragon how she knows her designs and if they are written down. She responds by telling them that her mother told her stories growing up about the Spider Woman, Changing Woman and Mother Earth. “The Changing Woman gave birth to twins, but their names weren’t written down the way we do today, but their names were the shape of who they are,” she says. “That’s what my mom told me. Those are the designs you had to know.” Even when Aragon diverged to do her own designs, she says the names would still come through in her weavings.
“My weaving means so much to me; it’s part of my life,” Aragon says. “It makes me happy to do the weaving and to show my art to people around the world that come to see the shows.”