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Darlene Littleben - Navajo

 

Darlene is a member of the well known Littleben family, a group of several weavers in Northern Navajo Land famous for their Teec textiles.

 

This style, developed after the turn of the century, is said to have been influenced by a local missionary, "Mrs. Wilson." The idea was that rug sales could be improved if the weavers catered to the then popular taste for Persian carpets in the Eastern U. S. The first designs were her interpretations of "Persianesque" patterns. Whatever, the Teec style is typified as having very intricate designs, and trend towards more flamboyant colors. Recently, colors and complexities of design have been subdued for more compatibility with contemporary tastes.

 

The Teec Nos Pos style of rug design arose in a location with a trading post by the same name. It's in the northeast corner of the Arizona portion of the Navajo reservation. Initially it was a regional design typical of traders' efforts to market a distinctive style that would appeal to a wide range of customers. As was typical of many Navajo rugs designs, this pattern was inspired by the national interest in oriental-style rugs in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

 

Teec rugs tend to be quite intricate in their design and incorporate geometric patterns as well as an elaborate border, along with the use of varied and multiple colors.

Among the modern weavers of this pattern, the Littleben family of Rock Point, Arizona has taken the use of color to a new level. Elsie Begay, Darlene Littleben, Bessie Littleben, Dorothy Littleben, Jessie Littleben, Irene Littleben and Genevieve Curtis are all Littleben sisters that have learned to weave from their mother Lucy.

 

Although their styles vary slightly, they all incorporate an astonishing rainbow of colors into their rugs. They might use anywhere from thirty colors to over 60. And despite the number of colors, they are carefully chosen to blend together into a pleasing tapestry of hues.