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Navajo Rugs at Cunnington Farms

With ranch work running smoothly under the direction of foreman Jerome Nez, newly available time allows focus on an exciting venture for Cunnington Farms as we return to one of my earliest interests: Southwestern textiles and rugs.  For several important reasons, our online rug gallery is a unique opportunity for artists, buyers and the ranch.

First, a number of years ago I spent twenty years training, studying and working with Joe Ben Wheat at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO where Dr. Wheat was Professor of Natural History and world authority on Southwestern textiles and weaving.  These years gave me the necessary background training and experience to identify the very best woven rugs.

However, my involvement with rugs and weaving isn’t merely an academic one.  Thirty years of work with Navajo Churro sheep, the foundation breed of the great Navajo weaving tradition, has given me first-hand knowledge of the animals that will produce the very highest quality wool needed by weavers to create these iconic pieces.

In addition, my work to place starter flocks of Churros in remote areas of the Four Corners region has allowed me to identify lesser-known weavers who have all of the skills to produce top-quality rugs.

 

Sam Cunningham

 

Finally, my ties to the Navajo Nation through my ranch workers and their families give me unique access to the most interesting kinds of rugs, as well as insuring that the weavers receive their money in the most timely way.  Some Four Corners area programs offer consignment of woven rugs, but it can be quite some time before the rug is sold and the weaver receives his or her money, which may mean that no new weaving can begin until the weaver is paid for the completed one.  Trading posts or other businesses may purchase directly from a weaver, but must pay somewhat less money to cover their operational costs and other expenses.  Rug auctions are yet another source for rugs woven in traditional patterns and colors, but here again, it can be a long time between auctions, and the weaver has his or her capital tied up in an item that is not sold.

Rugs offered here, on my website, meet the most stringent standards of art, technical proficiency and quality.  But there is important value added: none of the rugs for sale on my website are taken on commisson.  Cunnington Farms pays a few weavers directly for their best rugs and then displays those rugs for sale online at essentially the price paid to the weaver.  As these rugs are sold, additional rugs will be added as they become available.