Brenda Nez

Brenda Nez

Perry Null Trading:

You are a Navajo married to a Hopi, but your last name is Navajo?

Brenda Nez:

I use Brenda Nez-Joshevama.

Perry Null Trading:

When did you start weaving?

Brenda Nez:

I was seven years old. My mother Genevieve Nez taught me how to weave. I would sit beside her and watch her make her weavings.

Perry Null Trading:

Do you remember your first rug?

Brenda Nez:

Yes, I used my mother’s scraps and strung the warp on a box and that is what I used to weave my first rug.

Perry Null Trading:

Did you always know you would weave rugs?

Brenda Nez:

My mother grew up during the Great Depression so she never wasted anything. I would take her materials to make my rugs and she had a very hard time with that. This little girl taking all of the yarn and warp, stuff she was going to use and think maybe I was going to waste. That really discouraged me.

Perry Null Trading:

It didn’t stop you from weaving?

Brenda Nez:

No, but it made me do all of the steps by myself. I would shear the sheep, clean the wool, card the wool (smooth it), spin the wool (make it fine), and dye the wool. It really made me learn the whole process.

Perry Null Trading:

Do you still do all of those steps?

Brenda Nez:

No, today you can go and buy the wool that is really fine and makes a very nice rug. It would take so long to do those steps that you would never be able to sell the rug.

Perry Null Trading:

Do you weave fulltime?

Brenda Nez:

No, it is just a hobby, I really don’t weave many rugs.

Perry Null Trading:

What do you do?

Brenda Nez:

I work for Rocky Ridge Boarding School and teach weaving there. When I came back from school and saw how many Navajo children didn’t know their language and not learning how to weave it really made me what to teach.

Perry Null Trading:

You have your degree in teaching?

Brenda Nez:

At first I wanted to do Social Work, but finished with a BS in Eduaction and a MS in Multi-Cultural Education from Northern Arizona University.

Perry Null Trading:

Have you had success getting the young children to weave?

Brenda Nez:

I approach it as art therapy. These kids are under so much pressure with all of the test required from No Child Left Behind that I really try to use weaving as a way to relieve tension.

Perry Null Trading:

Do you have some star pupils?

Brenda Nez:

Yes, both males and 14, Aysaiah Begay & Shomari Bitsui.

Perry Null Trading:

How about your own children?

Brenda Nez:

My two younger children show an interest, Brent & Amada.

Perry Null Trading:

I saw a picture of a Burnt Water rug you wove that won the 1991 Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial. Is that your favorite style?

Brenda Nez:

I like to weave the classic diamond pattern and do those in the Ganado & Burntwater styles.

Perry Null Trading:

When was the last time you came here to sell a rug?

Brenda Nez dt>

The early 1980s, I sold one here to Tobe Turpen before Perry purchased the Trading Post.

Perry Null Trading:

Thank you for what you do, weaving is always such a beautiful expression of the Navajo.

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