Charlene Rock

Charlene Rock Charlene Rock - Basketweaver: Born in Monument Valley, Charlene Rock is part of a new generation of the Douglas Mesa basket weavers. Charlene has been making baskets for more than a dozen years, since she was in grade school. Her natural ability, coupled with her desire to weave on a daily basis, has enabled her to refine and perfect her art. An uncommon small and delicate weave distinguishes Charlene's traditional baskets from the ordinary.

Making her way along the muddy banks of the Colorado River, Charlene Rock catches glimpses of the great expanse of swift water. Despite her modern dress, she looks much the same as her matriarchal ancestors did as they gathered sumac. But Charlene has to travel far to find the thick clumps of willow reeds, as it is becoming scarce in the Navajo homeland.

Charlene was born for the Reed Clan; the name perhaps connected to this generational pursuit of searching among water reeds for sumac used in weaving. Taught the Navajo doctrine by her father, and basket weaving by her mother, Charlene is strong in the sentiment of the Dine'. She enjoys her art of basketry, favoring a ceremonial or modified ceremonial design.

Charlene weaves every day and can finish a simple basket in about three days. As she works, her small son, Corwyn, sits by her side, touching the willows and trying his best to copy his mother. Charlene explains that he has an inherent ability for weaving because when she was pregnant with him she constantly wove baskets. When she would stop and rest the basket on her tummy, he would kick at it.

The same thing happened between Charlene and her mother, Betty. Now Charlene and her mother often work side by side, their fingers busy with their baskets as they visit, or laugh over little Corwyn's antics. And so Charlene's baskets have a little bit of everyday gossip and the sweetness of a baby's touch woven into them.

Charlene is one of the best weavers of the ceremonial basket, her own style coming through in a strong tight weave. It is all a significant and established way of life for her, just as her life is an integral part of her baskets.

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This site was last updated on November 21, 2017.

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