SW Textile Databases Temporarily Turned OFF

We are sorry to announce that several Southwest textile resources are not currently available online, despite earlier posts that announced their inauguration, which was indeed successful and lasted for several years. Due to recent changes within the Arizona State Museum website, the Joe Ben Wheat (JBW) and Arizona State Museum (ASM) Southwest Textile Databases will be offline for an undesignated period of time. We apologize to those of you who have received error messages while searching for these sites. We are working closely with ASM and consultants to reinstate the JBW Database as soon as possible and will post further information once the database becomes live again.

Tapestry Talk in Las Cruces

On Tuesday, February 21st, 2017, Ann Hedlund will present an illustrated slide talk, “Tapestries Made After Paintings: From the Dovecot to Ganado, from Brennan to Begay,” for the Mesilla Valley Weavers Guild, 10 am at the Branigan Cultural Center, 501 N. Main Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico. Everyone is welcome to attend this hour-long program, free of charge.

GFR & Navajo weaver Audrey Wilson 4-1981

Navajo Weavers Today

Navajo Weavers Today: A talk by Ann Lane Hedlund
At the Silver City Public Library, 515 W. College Avenue, Silver City, New Mexico
Thursday, November 14, 2013, 10:00am

The Silver City Public Library is pleased to host a free presentation on weaving, in celebration of the 2013 Silver City Fiber Arts Festival. Our speaker will be Ann Lane Hedlund, former director of the Gloria F. Ross Center for Tapestry Studies at Arizona State Museum and former museum curator and anthropology professor at the University of Arizona. Ann has written Gloria F. Ross and Modern Tapestry (Yale, 2010), Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century (UA Press, 2004, Arizona Highways Award for Non-Fiction), and Reflections of the Weaver’s World (Denver Art Museum, 1992). She was also editor/compiler of Joe Ben Wheat’s prize-winning Blanket Weaving in the Southwest (UA Press, 2003).

Ann describes her presentation:
“I’ll discuss the growing recognition of Navajo weaving as an art form by collectors, curators and the weavers themselves. Based on long-term field research since the ’70s, I’ll describe weaving’s transition from craft to art, from household decor to museum display, and from curio to investment. Recent trends on and off the Navajo Nation are illustrated with my photos of people, places and artwork.”
Lillian Galloway at the Silver City Library.

SW Festival of the Written Word

The Southwest Festival of the Written Word, a multi-faceted literary festival, will take place in Silver City, New Mexico, on Friday September 27-Sunday September 29.  The theme of the first-time Festival is “Textures y Sabores.”

“Textures,” explains Jeannie Miller, public information chair of the Festival, “was suggested by Joe Wade,  a member of the Festival organizing committee.” The “y Sabores,” which in Spanish means “and Tastes” or “and Flavors,” was a natural addition to the theme,” adds Peter Garcia, Festival coordinator. “Together these words describe the wonderful atmosphere created when more than 50 writers, agents and publishers gather to participate in over 35 events.”

The Festival was created to highlight writers who live and write in the Southwest. More than half the Festival presenters live in the wider Silver City area, while the rest are from Texas, Arizona, Colorado and other parts of New Mexico. Ann Hedlund, author and anthropologist, will participate in panel discussions on Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. All events are free and open to the public except where noted in the schedule of events.

The two keynote speakers, Ana Castillo and Denise Chavez, rank among the best novelists of America, according to Garcia. Their excellence comes in part because they remain true to their roots and the rich idioms in the Mexican American communities of New Mexico, far west Texas, and Chicago.

Hear about our new SW textile databases

You can listen to two NPR radio interviews in which the Arizona State Museum and Joe Ben Wheat Southwest Textile Databases are discussed by Ann Hedlund with Laura Palmisano from Arizona Public Media. Just click here and then click on one of the MP3 sound bars above or below the text.

SW Textile Databases Now Available to the World

TUCSON, ­­­AZ (July 8, 2013) — Like never before, two brand new searchable and illustrated databases aim to share the artistry and study of southwestern textiles through the worldwide web.

The two databases plus extensive background information and helpful guides are available on the ASM website at: http://www.statemuseum.arizona.edu/coll/textile/asm_southwest_textile_database/


Available at the click of a mouse are baseline data and images essential for understanding the evolution of three cultural textile traditions in the American Southwest—Navajo, Pueblo, and Spanish American. Focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, their history spans three major periods from the time of Spanish governance to 1821, the Mexican era until 1846, and the American and early reservation period since then. These groundbreaking resources represent the culmination of decades of research by two world-renowned textile authorities: the late Dr. Joe Ben Wheat of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Dr. Ann Lane Hedlund, who recently retired as curator at Arizona State Museum and professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. Of this capstone project, Hedlund says

These tools can be used by anyone to create absolutely new knowledge about the Southwest’s Native American and European-influenced textile traditions. Most importantly, as an anthropologist who studies both living and long past artists, I want artists of all stripes to have access to this wondrous visual and technical compilation.”

Other audiences that Hedlund lists include every museum curator with SW textiles in their collections; scholars interested in SW history and material culture; handweavers and artists seeking the roots of SW weaving; collectors and others who appreciate worldwide crafts, folk art, and art of all time. “And certainly students of all ages, I hope students will enjoy exploring the information and will get it to tell us things that we’ve never known before.”

Though other online databases of museum collections exist, and there are certainly in-depth databases of ceramics and other media, there is nothing quite like these two new textile resources in terms of their detail and query-based interactivity.

It’s also a first to have such stellar visual, technical, historical selections from so many museum collections gathered in one place for comparisons,” says Hedlund. “I know of nothing that allows visitors as much access and ability to query the data as this incredible store of information does. We included nearly every SW textile in our collections, some 600 examples, and just over 1300 specimens studied by Wheat in 50 other public collections.”

Joe Ben Wheat  was one of the first two recipients of a PhD in anthropology at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Blanket Weaving in the Southwest, which Hedlund edited and posthumously published in 2003. Ann Hedlund’s books include Reflections of the Weaver’s World, Navajo Weaving in the Late 20th Century, Navajo Weavings from the Andy Williams Collection, and Gloria F. Ross & Modern Tapestry. She also is curator of many textile exhibits and has presented countless public lectures around the world. The online databases were engineered by ASM Webmaster Laura LePere and Applications Programmer Michael Ornelas,  with contributions by David Hayden of Museum Data Solutions and many other valuable participants who are acknowledged on each website.

GFR Center Transfers to the University of Arizona

In May 2010, the GFR Center for Tapestry Studies, Inc., transformed into the newly formed Gloria F. Ross Tapestry Program at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Since then, our staff energies and activities have remained strong and especially focused on celebrating and sharing the publication of Ann Hedlund’s book Gloria F. Ross & Modern Tapestry (Yale University Press, 2010). The Center’s corporate assets were transferred to the University of Arizona Foundation on behalf of the new programmatic entity, an integral part of the University and located on campus in the Arizona State Museum (ASM). This required detailed and protective legal arrangements with the New York State Attorney General, the Arizona Corporation Commission, the University’s Board of Regents, and the GFR Center’s Board of Trustees.


The mission of the new GFR Tapestry Program remains identical to that of the original Center: to foster the creative practice and cultural study of tapestry, handwoven worldwide from ancient to modern times. The GFR Tapestry Program has remained devoted to research and public programming,” says program director Ann Hedlund.

We extend our deep appreciation to the GFR Center’s former Board of Trustees, who worked through the process of corporate dissolution and who were always ready to remind us of our most important goals—to continue sharing the wonderful world of textiles with as many people as possible. Thank you to Alice Zrebiec, Ramona Sakiestewa, Susan Brown McGreevy, and Margi Fox, outgoing (and outstanding!) trustees. Thanks also to Ann Bookman, Archie Brennan, Helena Hernmarck, Hal Einhorn, Lotus Stack, and Sue Walker, who were extremely helpful and encouraging during previous board terms. We are very grateful to our generous donors and past Associates, who supported our many programs through your membership during the GFR Center’s many years of active programming and productivity.

The Desert Tapestries of Louise Nevelson

Guest Lecture by Ann Lane Hedlund, “The Desert Tapestries of Louise Nevelson: 1972-1997,” Wednesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Hedlund will present a richly illustrated talk about a unique series of handwoven tapestries designed by world renowned sculptor/collagist Louise Nevelson, orchestrated by Gloria F. Ross, and woven under the direction of Archie Brennan at the Dovecot Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland. The translation of Nevelson’s torn paper collages into large-scale woven works represents an intriguing collaboration. Inspired by a visit from the East Coast artist to the American Southwest, the resulting artworks were evocatively named “Desert” (MFA-Boston), “Dusk in the Desert,” “Landscape,” “Mirror Desert,” “Night Mountain,” “Reflection,” and “The Late, Late Moon.” These are also illustrated and described in Hedlund’s 2010 book, Gloria F. Ross & Modern Tapestry (Yale University Press).

Recital Hall adjacent to the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery
Pima Community College, West Campus
Center for the Arts Complex
2202  West Anklam Road
Tucson, AZ 85709

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Center for the Arts Box Office hours Map and Directions Accessibility    Information

“Where’s That Textile From?!”

On Thursday, November 8, 2012, textile expert Ann Lane Hedlund (GFR Center’s director) will present a free public talk at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) in Tucson, on the campus of the University of Arizona. In “Where’s That Textile From and When Was It Made? An Illustrated Talk on Textiles from Mexico and the Southwestern U.S., she will demonstrate how you can tell the difference between Pueblo, Navajo, Mexican, and Spanish-American textiles. Using examples from ASM’s renowned collection and from other museums, Dr. Hedlund will explain why certain designs and technical features are useful in identifying and dating blankets and rugs from the Greater Southwest. Come learn how historical events, cultural traits and technical details influenced weavers to fashion their work in certain ways, and you too could answer the question, “Where’s that textile from?” Refreshments served before the talk in ASM lobby, 6–6:40 p.m; the talk takes place in CESL auditorium, 6:45–8 p.m.

A textile analysis workshop led by Ann Hedlund

A textile analysis workshop led by Ann Hedlund

at Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe

at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Santa Fe

This program presented as part of the ongoing celebrations of Arizona State Museum’s Many Mexicos exhibit.

Textile Analysis Workshops are offered

Where to begin and how to proceed with understanding an unknown textile from the American Southwest, whether a Pueblo, Navajo or Spanish-American blanket, poncho or rug?  In this workshop we’ll cover fibers, yarns and dyes; loom techniques; weave structures; end, side and corner finishes. We will offer hands-on analysis of varied museum textiles under magnification, coupled with digitally illustrated discussions of useful traits for identifying and dating Southwest textiles. Open to collectors, curators, scholars, artists, and others; no prior analytical experience necessary but appreciation and careful handling of textiles is essential.”

In advance of publishing an online project called the Joe Ben Wheat Southwest Textile Database, Ann Hedlund and colleagues are offering a number of one-day workshops on Southwestern Textile Analysis. The first took place last March at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) during the Navajo Studies Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Taught by Hedlund and Museum of New Mexico registrar Cathy Notarnicola, with contributions from MIAC curator Joyce Begay-Foss, the workshop was deemed a success by its registrants, half of whom were Navajo weavers and the other half, museum curators.


The next is offered during the annual meetings of the Textile Society of America, on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Hedlund will teach again with Notarnicola and with NMAI conservator Susan Heald. There are still a few places open for participants and you do not have to register for the entire meetings. Click here for more information as this workshop will soon fill up.


Other opportunities occur in Tucson, Arizona, when Hedlund gives a free public lecture, “Where’s That Textile From and When Was It Made? An Illustrated Talk on Textiles from Mexico and the Southwestern U.S.,” at Arizona State Museum on Thursday, November 8, and follows with two one-day workshops on Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10. Those belonging to the Friends of the ASM Collections, or ASM’s membership group, or Tucson’s Navajo Textile Study Group will be given priority registration for the limited enrollment. Click here for more information about ASM’s member groups and contact Darlene Lizarraga at  dfl@email.arizona.edu to sign up for this workshop.


In early April 2012, Hedlund will offer a workshop at the University of Colorado Museum to members of the Boulder Handweavers Guild. Contact David Johnson at jdjohnson81499@msn.com for more information on this one.


Also, please watch for more activities related to the Joe Ben Wheat Southwest Textile Database as its online debut approaches before the end of 2012.