Handweaving: History, Background, and Origin
Weavings featured by El Paso Saddleblanket are not produced by Native Americans. For over 30 years EPSB has proudly specialized in quality handweaving, mostly from Indian in Mexico. For some products, we have often contracted the artistic skills of weavers in Guatemala, Ecuador, and India.
Handweaving, although starting 1000 years ago as a nomadic craft in the Middle East, has almost always been a commercial endeavor-thus there is little recorded as to the origin of designs. Generally, traders have affected the majority of influence over patterns, color, and quality control. From the earliest experimentation with lines and angles, weavers have continually adapted and absorbed ideas from other cultures to upgrade the craft and increase marketability.
In the New Word, from 1700-1800 Navajo Indians learned handweaving techniques from the Spanish and Pueblos. Until the lat 1800’s, the products were simple wearing blankets for themselves and Chief’s blankets that they traded to the Plains Indians. What most people think of as Navajo design rugs were invented by early territorial traders using ideas from photographs of Persian carpets mixed with Pre-Columbian architectural designs from the Mitla Ruins in Mexico. Add in sheep’s wool, imported dyes, and some entrepreneurial spirit, and the Navajo rug became a very marketable product. Today, the finest of Navajo rugs are very, very expensive.
El Paso Saddleblanket Company provides retailers with products that sell. Global trade demands that we bring to market items of quality, economy, and above all something the consumer feels good about acquiring. Your customers will recognize the traditional aspects of the designs and will love the way new elements of pattern and color are being used to fit modern décor.