Barbara Ornelas

“It’s like sitting inside a puzzle. The rug is symmetrical both horizontally and vertically. A rug is like a kaleidoscope, you only need to design one quarter of the rug, and then duplicate that pattern. As you go up the pattern on the right quarter is the same as the one on the left. When you get to the middle you repeat the pattern mirroring your first half.” Barbara Teller Ornelas

Master Navajo tapestry weaver, Barbara Teller Ornelas created Two Grey Hills Tapestry Weaving specifically for exhibition in Tashkent. The weaving uses all hand-carded, handspun Navajo sheep wool and black dye; the brown, light brown and white are natural sheep’s wool; the black is enhanced with black dye; and the greys are mix of black and white, hand-carded. The warp is wool and has 12 warps to the inch; the weft count is 92 lines per inch. Weaving time from start to finish is 3 months.

“This Two Grey Hills weaving is what I’m well known for. I come from a long line of Two Grey Hills Weavers on my mother’s side. I am considered the 5th generation weaver of this, and my children are the 6th generation weavers. The experts in Navajo weaving call the Two Grey Hills the Cadillac of Navajo weaving! The weaving is done with very fine yarn. Similar to how Asian rugs are measured by the knots, we count the weft per inch in Navajo weaving. 80-weft count is considered tapestry. My weft count starts at 102 and I’ve done up to about 146. It takes a lot longer for more weft count weavings to finish. I consider these weavings as my children. It makes me feel balance and in harmony when I’m working on a Two Grey Hills.”