Eddie Bonnie Navajo Rug Weaver
Take a 20 minute drive south of Ganado, Arizona and you will find Wide Ruins. It is a dirt road in and out of this small community that is built up around a boarding school. This area is known for rugs, beautiful rugs. Across from the old torn down Wide Ruins Trading Post you will find the remains of a sheep dipping camp. Like many of today’s artists Eddie Bonnie Navajo rug weaver learned when he was little from watching his grandmother and mother.
Perry Null Trading When did you weave your first rug?
Eddie Bonnie It was 1994, I was 15-16 years old.
Perry Null Trading What style was it?
Eddie Bonnie It was very small and done in a Wide Ruins style. I still have it.
Perry Null Trading Who taught you how to weave?
Eddie Bonnie I learned from my late grandmother and late mother. They were always weaving and when I was a little boy I would just watch them. By the time that I wove my first rug I already had a very good idea of what I was doing.
Perry Null Trading So after you finished your first rug were you weaving all the time?
Eddie Bonnie Not right away. In a couple of years I was doing around 6 a year.
Perry Null Trading What kind of rug style were these weavings?
Eddie Bonnie Always Wide Ruins style rugs.
Perry Null Trading When you think of Wide Ruins you imagine all of those vegetal dye colors. Did you make your own dyes?
Eddie Bonnie Yes, ever since I was a little I would drive around with my grandmother and mom and collect plants. I knew which ones would make what colors. They would even process their own wool up until the late 1980s . That is when you could easily purchase the wool already processed.
Perry Null Trading The rugs you have brought us are complicated designs and very unique. How do you go from your Wide Ruins style to these very different weavings?
Eddie Bonnie I would just keep talking to my grandma. She would talk about the more complicated weavings and I kept learning and learning from her. The first rug that I made that was different was a round weaving.
Perry Null Trading Do you still do your own dying?
Eddie Bonnie Some of the colors I will buy, but others I will buy processed white wool and dye it the desired color.
Perry Null Trading Your rugs are so fine. How do you accomplish this, or is it a trade secret?
Eddie Bonnie I will spin the wool more, making it very fine.
Perry Null Trading You made a circle rug. What other styles have you done?
Eddie Bonnie I have woven a few Burntwater Rugs, those are the most complicated. Once I did a raised outline. I have also done the Chief styles, and a 2 in 1.
Perry Null Trading What is your favorite to weave?
Eddie Bonnie Wide Ruins.
Perry Null Trading The rugs we have gotten from you are smaller weavings. Have you ever woven a really large rug?
Eddie Bonnie In 1998 I wove a rug with my mother and grandmother that was 12’ x 15’.
Perry Null Trading That is huge. Who did you sell that to.
Eddie Bonnie It was commissioned by a private collector. It took us over 9 months to weave.
Perry Null Trading Will you ever weave another one that big?
Eddie Bonnie No, never.
Perry Null Trading Do you do any shows?
Eddie Bonnie No, but I would like to start. One of my rugs won Best of Class at the 2007 Navajo Nation Fair. And I have also been in some books and magazines.
Perry Null Trading Have you ever thought about teaching someone, passing on the tradition?
Eddie Bonnie I have thought about getting my family members together and doing a class, but just haven't gotten it together yet. Maybe someday.
Perry Null Trading Thank you.