Visit the Southwest Fusion of Tradition and Innovation in Art

You will never see such glorious baskets. (We promise.)

Encouraging and supporting this sort of fusion is our Twin Rocks passion!

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The Navajo Sacred Basket and the Basket as Art

Native baskets are made by women, and a few men who lives as women

Baskets are the Province of Women… and a Few Men.

Basketry is generally a woman’s art that is also pursued by the nadle (he-to-she) or men skilled in the arts and lifestyle of both men and women. Basketry is not classified with textile fabrics (yistl’o), but with sewing (nalkhad).

Making baskets is a sacred act – many are used for ceremonial purposes.  Today, there are several amazing artists at Twin Rocks who have created an art form that is a fusion of tradition and cutting-edge contemporary art

Traditionally, while the basket is in progress, the sewer is untouched and avoided by the members of her family. The basket material, too, is placed beyond the immediate reach of the household.  The basketmaking is finished as quickly as possible.  Usually, the craft and art is passed down through women in the family, and learned at a young age.

In days past, if the basketmaking went on too long, sickness and rheumatic stiffness might affect both the wrists and the joints of the sewer.  This was remedied by a singer/medicine man who, in the course of a ceremony, clothed both arms of the patient with the skin of a fawn (bi’yazh).  Then, a hole was broken into the south side of the hogan through which the patient extended her hand and wrist. As soon as the wrist appeared on the outside, her younger sister took it between her teeth, pressing them lightly into the skin.  This removed the stiffness (nasdo’).

There are families of weavers we at Twin Rocks have been honored to work with in their passion to experiment with materials, colors and designs.  What they have created is mind-boggling.  We believe that creating a new art form is also a sacred act, and we applaud these men and women for their vision!

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

Come to Twin Rocks Trading Posts and visit Arches National Park

Arches National Park is one of the natural treasures near Twin Rocks.

The First Morning

“This is the most beautiful place on earth.

“There are many such places.  Every man, every woman carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, actual or visionary.  A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome — there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.  Theologians, sky pilots, astronauts have even felt the appeal of home calling to them from above, in the cold black outback of interstellar space.

“For myself, I’ll take Moab, Utah.  I don’t mean the town itself, of course, but the country which surrounds it — the Canyonlands. The slick-rock desert.  The red dust and the burnt cliffs and the lonely sky — all that which lies beyond the end of the roads.”

…………..

The above was written by Edward Abbey, and it is from his book about our red rock country, Desert Solitaire.  His use of words is incomparable.  The perfect description of how we feel about this, the part of the land we carry in our hearts.  The part that grabs travelers as they pass through.

Come to Twin Rocks in Bluff, UT and discover the art that emerges from this magical place.  You will be captivated and amazed. But you won’t be surprised. Art that comes from land with this sort of beauty is breathtaking, purely imagined, and the inspiration is clear.

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Mom and Duke’s Trading Post

Rose and Duke Simpson at their Blue Mountain Trading Post in Blanding, UT

Rose and Duke Simpson — aka Mom and Dad — in the Trading Post

We at Twin Rocks are Trading Post kids.  It’s sort of like being a military brat. You are in a world of your own, understood only by those who’ve been there, done that.  Thankfully, it’s world that comes to your own door, and it’s also a world that’s as big as you want to make it when you step outside and climb into your truck.

How many miles do you want to go to find a few perfect pieces?  How many artistic friends do you want to meet on the way?  How many do you want to make?

Trading is an old and venerable way of life.  The Mayans went up and down their trade route which, some say, went all the way to present day Santa Fe, NM, for more years than we can count.

Here in Bluff, when you stand at the Great Kiva, you can still see the paths that led to Chaco, the center of another civilization.

We at Twin Rocks learned to trade from our dad, Duke Simpson, still the patriarch of our family.  With five kids in five years, we went to work pretty young, and mom was good at laying down the law.  (Which was a good thing — we were kind of an unruly crew.)

Duke could and would trade for anything.  He’d head off in his pick-up truck with a roll of baling wire to start the bargaining, trading up, around and over.  (Having plenty of baling wire is kind of a big deal in west.)

This year is a landmark birthday for Duke and Rose who have been together for just about forever.  We wish them well. We’re glad they gave us the life they did.  Happy Birthday!

PS:  Yes, they still have a trading post.  And they have an RV Park.  If you want to stop by, head up the road 25 miles from Bluff, UT and say hello to those good people at Blue Mountain Trading Post!  Treasures await you.

The Tree of Life Weaving Makes Life Beautiful

Click Here and Scroll Down!  http://www.twinrocks.com/products/8316-southwest-rug-navajo-rug-indian-rug-rug-weave.html

The Tree of Life — Interview with Navajo Weaver, Rena Begay, Master Weaver of Tree of Life

Unusual Tree of Life Weaving with Birds

Unusual Tree of Life Weaving with Birds

The Tree of Life is one of the most unique and interesting among Navajo myths and legends.

It is the story about where the people came from and their beliefs in the progression and movement of life.  It also sings about their connections with natural surroundings and the involvement of their gods in daily life.  It is the story of who the Navajo people are today and the rhythm of their lives.

Most Tree of Life weavings have a stalk of corn in the center.  And, at the base of this stalk, there is a symbol for the emergence of the people into this world.  It is a story about the center of life.

Is it any wonder that it is beautiful?

Bugs and birds, flowers and butterflies create flights of fancy in Rena Begay’s “Tree of Life” rugs.

Bugs are about who the Navajo people were in the first creation story. Butterflies represent personal creativity, and birds are our  connection with the gods.  Flowers are our way of remembering that life is beautiful, and a climbing vine refers to the upward moving way.

These are simple, gorgeous images woven in wool that recall our most basic hopes, wishes and needs.   Look closely at this rug… Remember that life is good and smiles upon us all.  A true miracle.

Miss Navajo is Much More than a Sexy Bathingsuit

Miss Navajo Nation will carry on the tradition of Beauty and Pride in Womanhood

New Miss Navajo Nation, 2012 – 2013

We at Twin Rocks are proud of the young women who are our treasured neighbors, artists and storytellers.  We’ve published photos of Miss Navajo over the years, and we’d like to share with you a different cultural perspective on Beauty.

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Welcome (ya’at’eeh)  This, from:  www.missnavajonaton.com:

In keeping with Navajo culture and tradition, the role of Miss Navajo Nation is to exemplify the essence and characters of First Woman, White Shell Woman and Changing Woman and to display leadership as the Goodwill Ambassador.

Miss Navajo Nation represents womanhood, and she fulfills the role of ‘grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister’ to the Navajo people. And so, she can speak as a leader, teacher, counselor, advisor and friend.’

In March 1999, the Branch Chiefs of the Navajo government agreed that the tone of the fundamental principles of the Navajo government should be the preservation of the Navajo culture. It shall be the mission of the Office of Miss Navajo Nation to encourage every Navajo to assist in the preservation of Navajo culture, and Miss Navajo Nation will represent the importance of Navajo women with respect and honor.    From the Current Miss Navajo, Leandra Thomas:

“My name is Leandra Thomas. I am Naakaii Dine (Mexican/Spanish people) born for Tsi’naajinii (Black streak people). My maternal grandparents are Kiiya’aanii (Towering house people), and my paternal grandparents are Honagha’nii (Ones who walk around). I come from a small community called Steamboat Canyon, Arizona. I received my bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in elementary education. I am pursing my master’s degree in bilingual multicultural education, also from NAU.

“I have two loving parents, Anderson and Bernice Thomas. I’m the youngest of four, with three older brothers Andy, Arlo, and Leander. The teachings that are instilled within me come from my family, grandparents, relatives, and our livestock. (Yes, she said livestock — we can certainly learn from other animals.)

“As an educator and a student, I feel the students are the ones who will be carrying on our Dine teachings. Our elders are the ones who share the stories, and from them we learn about our Navajo culture and language. Therefore, throughout the year, my focus is on our youth and our elders. Together, our Navajo Nation is able to reach great heights, and together we are able to walk in beauty.”

…………………………………

Together… That’s how we all walk in Beauty.  Thank you, Leandra, an extraordinary young woman.  You make us all proud.

“Young Buck Prancing” Southwest Necklace Made from Deer Antler

James Olson uses natural materials and combines them with the finest in silversmithing to create unique Southwest jewelry for Twin Rocks Trading Post

James Olson uses natural materials and combines them with the finest in silversmithing to create unique Southwest jewelry.

From the fertile imagination of Jamie Olson comes a pin/pendent crafted of naturally shed deer antler with Utah jet and sterling silver.

Jamie has titled this piece, as much art as jewelry, “Young Buck Prancing”. When it comes to his jewelry designs and the material he uses to produce them, this gifted artist is cleverly creative. Wearing Jamie’s jewelry tells everyone you have impeccable taste. That’s fine and dandy. Most of all, it makes you feel as if you have a magic talisman.

James A. Olson, says of himself, the artist:

“About my work, or lack of, it chose me as much as I chose it. Asked where I get my ideas, I can’t really say for sure. I’m thankful I get them once in awhile, and have the basic skills to carry them through to a satisfactory condition, at that point and time. I’m blessed, I love what I do, it’s a passion. When that love and passion is not there, I’ll do something else.”

Jamie’s work is finally getting the notice and recognition it deserves. Galleries in Denver, and Big Parts Elsewhere, are discovering him. He may live in a little studio just across from Twin Rocks Gallery and Cafe in Bluff, but as often happens, the world comes to Bluff. What the world discovers is art from the heart. Art from the soul.

If you’re tempted to get one of Jamie’s pieces of jewelry, each one unique, now is the time. We in Bluff, UT are at the edge of the epicenter of nowhere, and thankfully so, but there is only so much Jamie to go around!