tres tejaderas: retreat in tselani

In the beginning of July, just a few days after Dennis & I returned from our NM camping trip, I had the incredible pleasure of spending several days with DY Begay & Janie Hoffman at DY's hogan & studio on the Navajo reservation in Tselani. Located about 30 miles SW of Chinle as the raven flies, Tselani is quite a bit further by road... as DY said in one of her emails to Janie & I, "Bring plenty of wine! The nearest store is 96 miles away!"

I'm not even sure how to begin describing our time together there; it was so wonderful, words do not even seem adequate, but I'll try...

The hogan & studio are located on DY's family lands; she grew up here with her many brothers & sisters, surrounded by other family members; many still live there or nearby. She climbed, ran, played, hauled water, learned about plants & their uses, & memorized a landscape punctuated by junipers, buttes, & mesas. Even though DY didn't tell Janie & I this in so many words, it's readily apparent that she comes back here to ground herself, to decompress from city life, to allow her creative energies to thrive unhindered.

Mornings were for hiking, following DY up canyons, clambering over sandstone & shale, inhaling juniper scented air, drinking in the vistas. She told us about many land features, plants, old home sites, & little bits of what life was like growing up & living there, even of meeting her first English speaking person. We collected quite a few dye plants on our hikes-- sage, chamiso, cota, mistletoe, juniper berries --& collected pocketfuls of colorful pebbles. Tselani means "many rocks" in Navajo & it is easy to see why it is called so. The heavily eroded sandstone cliffs are banded & striated in every color one could imagine & some you'd never think of. Colored boulders encrusted with rainbow colored lichen are strewn about the canyons like a giant's bag of marbles. DY & I traded Navajo & Spanish words for the plants & objects we encountered, leading Janie to christen us the "Tres Tejaderas", the three weavers.

Afternoons we lunched, napped, & retreated to the studio to weave, listen to music, & talk. The studio's rectangular windows were carefully placed low & on the horizontal so DY has spectacular views of the landscape & horizon while she is seated at her loom weaving. We examined & talked about what we each had on our looms, admiring each piece & making observations, & discussed our future weaving plans.

Evenings we enjoyed an ice cold beer or chilled glass of wine on the hogan's broad deck, soaking in the ever-changing view of the mesas on the horizon. We took turns as cook each night & enjoyed scrumptious meals of lasagne, chicken chef salad , & chile verde pork posole.

How exquisite this experience was... all three of us share a passion for weaving, natural dyeing, & the natural environment which made it very easy to spend time together & strengthen our friendships. Our visit felt timeless, yet the hours seemed to fly by.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." Anaïs Nin

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


Pam said...

Enjoyed this post Lyn, thanks for sharing such an enriching time. Love the slide show too!

tapestry13 said...

Just beautiful photos of all of you and the wonderful surroundings, Lyn! Thanks so much for sharing.