Contributor Spotlight / FOREST / Naiomi Glasses
Today we're excited to bring you another contributor spotlight post this month with Naiomi Glasses, who contributed beautiful Starry Night Bookmark to the Making No. 8 / FOREST. Naiomi is a seventh-generation Navajo rug weaver, rancher, and model who lives in northeastern Arizona on her family's ranch, where they raise cattle and sheep.
What is your craft, and how did you get started?
My craft is Navajo rug weaving. I got my start by helping my nalí asdzą́ą́ (paternal grandmother), and brother close up their rugs. Then, I would help them weave when there was a rug that had to be finished by a certain deadline. After that, they set up a warp for me and told me to weave; it was a banded saddle blanket with squares in the corners; however, it felt like a difficult design at the time.
How would you describe your aesthetic and style?
My aesthetic is mostly neutral; I love monochromatic schemes; however, I do like having moments where I work with loud colors. I guess my aesthetic and style varies, just like how I flip-flop my clothing style, somedays I'll be dressed in Navajo skirts and others, I can be found in tomboy-ish clothes.
What's currently inspiring you?
Currently, I'm being inspired by a lot of old Navajo rugs from the late 1800s. That's around the time we received dyes to work with, and that's when weavers went crazy with patterns and colors. There's a lot in nature that's inspiring me too, like the white Mesa near my home and the red rocks that are in a town nearby. Nature is always going to be my biggest inspiration.
How do you refill your creative tank?
I usually take little breaks from social media, even if it's 8 hours, I feel like when I'm off of my phone and paying attention to my surroundings, it's easy to refill my creative tank. It's a daily practice.
Do you have other passions and hobbies?
I really enjoy riding horses, and I skateboard. Those two things are so different, but they help me kind of reset. In that time, while riding, whether it's a horse or a skateboard, I get to let my thoughts roam, all while focusing on something other than weaving. I do get a lot of inspiration while doing those two activities, though.
What's your favorite material to work with, and why?
I've been on a Navajo Churro wool kick lately! It's such a nice wool to weave with, it packs beautifully, and whenever I remove it from the loom, the piece has a lot of break, and the drape on it is heavenly. There's also this nice sheen to it that I still fangirl over every time I work with it.
Tell us about a challenge in your making that you've overcome.
This question is kind of tough. I feel like I haven't overcome any challenges only because I still feel like I'm learning. I'm only five years into weaving on my own; however, I do feel like I've kind of got a grasp on doing three edge cords. I would still like to get them better, of course. They aren't as foreign to me as they were two years ago, though, and I think that's what matters.
If you could tell yourself something back when you first started creating, what would it be?
If I could travel back in time right now, I would tell myself not to beat myself up over stripes not being ruler-straight. They're tough, but you're tougher!
Has your craft changed any of your perspectives on life?
I feel that weaving has definitely reiterated that Navajo saying that "Sheep are Life." I owe a lot of my livelihood to the sheep that my family has. I take care of them, and in return, they will take care of me.
Why do you create & what do you hope to express with the things you make?
I create to inspire other people around my age. It's insane to see the impact that the other young weavers have on the younger generation. People have said that Navajo weaving is a dying art form; however, I've noticed more people are picking it up and are invigorated to learn. It's very heartwarming, and I love seeing this revitalization among my people.
What is one of your favorite things about the Starry Night Bookmark you designed in FOREST?
My absolute favorite thing in the bookmark had to be the little tree; it was my first time doing a pictorial-style piece. Something about the theme Forest got me to step out of my comfort zone to try it, and I'm thankful that I listened to my intuition and did it. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity I was given.
Thanks, Naomi, for sharing more about your creativity and craft; it's been such fun to learn more about you!
We hope the community enjoyed this interview with one of our contributors from FOREST. You can find Naiomi's Starry Night Bookmark on pages 32-25 of Making No. 8 / FOREST. To keep up with her work, follow Naiomi on Instagram, naiomiglasses.