Join us on Pow Wow Life as we delve into the world of Navajo weaving with special guest Tashina Littleben, a third-generation Diné weaver from Rock Point, Arizona.
In this captivating interview, Tashina shares her personal journey of rediscovering her cultural roots and the profound connection between weaving, spirituality, and well-being.
Discover the essence of Navajo weaving, the significance of natural materials, and the power of tradition. Explore the revival of Diné culture and the artistry that Tashina and other young weavers bring to this ancient practice.
Introduction to Navajo Weaving
Tashina, a Diné weaver, introduced herself and shared her roots in Rock Point, Arizona. Born into a family of weavers, including her grandmother and aunties, she was immersed in the world of Navajo weaving from a young age.
Spiritual Dimensions of Navajo Weaving
The uniqueness of Navajo weaving, according to Tashina, lies in the spiritual practices embedded within the craft. While historically promoted for its aesthetic appeal, Tashina emphasizes the spiritual grounding and well-being she experiences through weaving. She delves into the historical promotion of weaving as an art form and contrasts it with her present-day approach, focusing on personal stories and connections.
A Weaving Journey Interrupted
Tashina's weaving journey began at the age of seven, creating small pieces that gradually grew into larger rugs by the age of twelve. However, life took her away from the reservation, and she took a 20-year hiatus. The pandemic in 2020 became a turning point, prompting her to return home and rediscover weaving as a form of medicine for her well-being.
Weaving as Medicine in Challenging Times
The podcast explores how weaving became a tool for maintaining mental and spiritual health during the challenges of the pandemic. Tashina reflects on the discipline and focus required to create amidst the chaos, emphasizing the therapeutic nature of the craft.
The Process of Weaving
Tashina details her return to weaving as an adult, acknowledging the changed perspective and the medicine it now represents for her. She shares that, as a weaver working a full-time job, it takes her about two months to complete a two-foot rug, weaving only when she feels in a good mental space, typically in the morning.
Inspiration and Future Aspirations
Inspired by her family and the ancient weavings displayed in Santa Fe, Tashina envisions creating fully handcrafted and naturally dyed pieces. She emphasizes the importance of authenticity in her work, researching and understanding the traditional designs to weave meaning into her creations.
Navajo Weaving as a Cultural Legacy
Tashina concludes the podcast by discussing the cultural legacy of Navajo weaving, acknowledging the responsibility she feels to carry on the tradition. She connects her work to the story of Spider Woman, a deity representing creativity and the connection with surroundings, emphasizing the intergenerational nature of Navajo weaving.
Encouragement for Others
Tashina encourages those who have drifted from their cultural roots to rediscover and reconnect, emphasizing that it's never too late to give traditions a second chance. Her story serves as an inspiration for others to explore and embrace their cultural heritage.
In summary, Tashina's podcast provides a captivating glimpse into the world of Navajo weaving, blending personal narrative, cultural history, and the spiritual essence of this time-honored craft.