Sally Black, Diné of the Navajo Nation Weaver

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Sally Black: A Weaver's Legacy

The image of a “Changing Bear Woman” Navajo Basket by Sally Black is from Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, Number 3, 2006, Contemporary Navajo Baskets on the Utah Reservation. Born in 1959, Sally Black is not just a name but a legacy in the world of weaving. As a Diné of the Navajo Nation, she has gained renown for her innovative approach to traditional and pictorial sumac baskets. Her journey began in the serene landscapes of Douglas Mesa in Utah, where she was raised under the watchful eyes of her mother, the esteemed basket weaver Mary Holiday Black, and her grandmother, Betty Holiday.

At the tender age of eight, Sally embarked on her weaving journey, guided by the skilled hands of her mother and grandmother. Today, she is credited with pioneering distinctive basket designs that are a testament to her creativity and dedication to her craft. But Sally's journey doesn't end there. She continues to push the boundaries of her craft, generously sharing her techniques with a new generation of Navajo weavers, thus ensuring the continuation of this beautiful art form.

In 1975, a pivotal year in her career, Sally found inspiration in the intricate patterns of a Navajo rug woven by her mother. This led her to introduce Navajo rug designs and other pictorial elements into her baskets, a move that was both innovative and transformative. Her baskets came alive with depictions of human figures, Yei-Be-Chai dancers, deer, dogs, eagles, horses, and turtles, each telling a story of its own.

Sally's creativity and unique designs have not gone unnoticed. She has been showered with numerous accolades, including Best of Show awards in Colorado and at the Museum of Northern Arizona. She has also been honored with the Best of Class at the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonials and the Heard Indian Fair.

Today, Sally resides in the picturesque Monument Valley, continuing to weave her legacy into every basket she creates. Her life and work serve as an inspiration to many, a testament to the power of creativity, tradition, and innovation.

Image Reference: The image of a "Changing Bear Woman" Navajo Basket by Sally Black is from Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, Number 3, 2006, Contemporary Navajo Baskets on the Utah Reservation (clicking on this will take you to another website).  This is a good reference to include how these baskets are made and includes numerous examples and different artists.