Originally published Friday, December 29, 2017 at 09:48a.m.

In Sedona, Turquoise Tortoise, a Bryant Nagel Gallery, opens “Weaving Traditions: Escalante Rugs” to showcase its extensive collection of heirloom‑quality rugs, runners and pillows from Zapotec Indian master weavers.

A reception Jan. 5 from 5‑8 p.m. opens the new exhibition.

In time to keep your home extra warm for winter, this stunning collection of Escalante Rugs offers a wide selection; each superior textile woven on an upright shuttle loom. The shearing, spinning of yarn, preparation of dyes, set-up of the loom, design and weaving represent the work of entire Zapotec families, with everyone playing a role. Each textile is identified with the name of the master weaver and each represents traditions that have sustained the Zapotec for many generations.

Located in the foothills of the Sierra Madres in the Oaxaca Valley of southern Mexico, the Indians are known locally as the “people of the clouds” and their weaving traditions pre-date Columbus. Unlike many other traditional Native practices, the high level of weaving craftsmanship of the Zapotec continues to thrive. The ability of the Zapotec to retain their skills and artistry as progress, that consistently elevates their work, is incorporated seems to be the secret: In the mid-seventeenth century, cotton and other textiles were replaced with wool when Dominican Friars introduced the European upright loom and sheep to the New World. Additional shifts allowed their weaving traditions to accommodate, and thrive in, today’s market.

Escalante Rugs has worked for over twenty years with these top weavers and, in that time, has helped expand the quality of wools used: These include: 100 percent Churro wool, an Angora wool blend, a fine 50 percent Mohair blend, and 100 percent Scottish Lincoln yarns. Over the past ten years Escalante Rugs has worked with the weavers to create over 500 proprietary formulas that represent the nuanced array of shades that is the true hallmark of an Escalante Rug. “Weaving Traditions: Escalante Rugs” runs through January 14th.

Visit www.Facebook.com/TurquoiseTortoiseGallerySedona; or follow Instagram.com/TurquoiseTortoiseGallery. Turquoise Tortoise Gallery, 928/282-2262, www.TurquoiseTortoiseGallery.com, located at Hozho, 431 SR 179 in Sedona is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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