Artist residency completed at Hubbell Trading Post Historic Site in Ganado, AZ
Twenty days and a whole lot of torn fabric strips later, my artist residency at Hubbell Trading Post Historic Site in Ganado, AZ, has ended. The park site on the Navajo reservation is owned by the National Park Service and managed by the Western National Parks Association. My residency marked the first since late 2019, when the COVID pandemic upended everybody's lives for the next two years.
My residency project was to create a weaving on an oversized hanging loom. The loom was anchored to an elm tree outside the guest hogan on the park grounds. The weaving area on the loom was seven feet wide and six feet high. I worked on the weaving outside every day for at least five hours, and sometimes as long as nine hours, weaving an interpretation of Spider Rock, a geologic structure at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in nearby Chinle, AZ. Spider Rock figures prominently in the origin stories of the Navajo/Diné culture. I also posted daily journal entries on Instagram (@suefergtoday) and on Facebook. I brought two smaller looms with me so that I could weave other items, as well, but the time demands for the oversized weaving were such that I had to focus on the oversized project exclusively.
The weaving includes cloth strips from various sources, including sheets, tablecloths, curtains, fabric, bedspreads, towels and slip covers. I relied on my memories of visits to Spider Rock, as well as photographs and sketches, to create the design in the finished weaving. The project took about 140 hours to complete. The finished piece is about 82" high and 83" wide.
The weaving is on loan to the National Park Service. It will hang in the Visitor Center at Hubbell Trading Post Historic Site during July 2022.