Anita Hathale

Anita Hathale

Anita Hathale - Rug Weaver: A Navajo rug weaver, Anita Hathale is good at what she does and she knows it. This confidence gives her freedom of artistic expression that has brought new dimension to her designs. Anita recently finished a "Hale- Bopp" rug, inspired by the vivid comet. It is on display at the Museum of Northern Arizona. "I love to weave," Anita says, "when I look at my finished rugs, I think 'Wow, I did that'. I feel euphoric."

Anita Hathale grew up in a family of 8 brothers and 5 sisters, on a remote part of the Utah Navajo reservation. Surrounded by windswept sandstone and desert brush, she found beauty in the barren expanse of her homeland. As a child she helped tend sheep; as a young girl she learned to shear the sheep, wash the wool, dye it with natural plant dyes, and card and spin it into yarn. By the time she was 12 years old her mother, Dinah, felt Anita was ready to learn how to weave the traditional Navajo rugs.

Education was important to the Hathale family and Anita graduated from high school and went on to college. When she married she found a husband who could build her a rug stand, and who was supportive of her need to sit at her loom. Over time she became the mother of six children, five sons and a last born daughter. During the years her babies were coming she put away her loom, but she never lost her desire to return to her art.

Born for the Water People Clan and to the Water Edge Clan, Anita was raised in the traditional Navajo way. Her maternal grandmother, Dezba, was a hand trembler; her father is a medicine man, a crystal gazer who learned the chants and ceremonies from his own father-in-law, Frank Big Boy.

When Anita felt her weaving was in a slump and she needed help, she turned to her father for help. He did a Beauty Way Ceremony for her. The ceremony has a "rainbow prayer" incorporated in it, and the medicine man offers up precious multi-colored stones to deities in exchange for requested blessings.

Anita now weaves up to 11 and 12 hours a day, and loves her work. She has evolved from doing traditional patterns to designing her own original motifs and they are as beautiful as they are unique. Anita, unlike many of her counterparts, is not afraid of open designs- large areas of one color- because her weave is tight and consistent, she doesn't need a pattern to hide a nubby finish.

Anita now buys her yarn from the store, but she puts it through a water process and spins it tighter before using it. As proficient as she is, it still takes her up to a full day to weave a mere two inches on a four foot wide rug, and up to a month to make a rug four by five feet in size.

No wonder Anita feels euphoric when she sees her finished product. She has every right to be elated with her creations, the fruit of her loom.

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This site was last updated on September 30, 2020.

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