Sky Stories: Pendleton Blankets for the 2017 Eclipse
If a beautiful Pendleton blanket is part of your plan to celebrate and commemorate the upcoming full solar eclipse, we are here with some suggestions! We’ve been weaving blankets that tell stories for over a century, and some of our most beautiful designs celebrate the night skies. All of these wool blankets are made in the USA.
Here are our Sky Stories.
Night falls as dancers gather on the Square Ground for the Stomp Dance, performed by many tribes: Caddo, Seneca, Muskogee, Cherokee, Shawnee, Seminole and more. Against the dark blue of the night sky, the bright flames of the ceremonial fire rise. Mother Fire is considered a sacred being who watches over the dancers and receives their songs and prayers. The Chief calls upon his medicine man and speaker to help him lead this sacred gathering. Men take their places in arbors built facing each of the Four Directions. With traditional and treasured turtle-shell rattles fastened to their legs, dancers begin their shuffle and stomp. Strong medicine and the repetitive steps of the Stomp Dance lead them to an inspirited, meditative state. The night echoes with the haunting call and response of their special songs. The Stomp Dance lasts until morning arrives to fill the sky with colors of Dawn.
This design was created in partnership with Muscogee Creek artist Starr Hardridge, and is part of our Legendary Collection. This design illustrates the relationship between humankind, Mother Nature and the creator of the universe, whose medicine is love. It acknowledges our place between the sun and the full moon. Full Moon Lodge is part of our Legendary Collection, which honors stories and symbols of Native American cultures.
This is a vintage design from 1923, the heyday of Native American trade blanket production. Dazzling colors and geometric designs tell a story. Arrows symbolize the paths of life and power. Stars centered in squares echo the bright Morning Star, a spirit honored by many pueblo dwellers. This blanket is part of our Heritage Collection.
High atop the Big Horn Range in Wyoming sits one of the best-known medicine wheels or sacred hoops. This spoked circle of stones was created by Plains Indians between 300 and 800 years ago. Astronomers have noted that during the summer solstice, the spokes of the wheel point to the rising and setting of the sun, and four bright stars, a discovery celebrated by astronomers.
The Northern Lights are as mysterious as they are glorious. Native legends offer intriguing explanations for these shining bands of transparent color that dance across the night skies. To the Fox tribe of Wisconsin, the lights were an omen of war, spirits of enemies rising up to do battle again. To their neighbors, the Menominee tribe, the lights belonged to torches carried by the manabai’wok, giant spirits of hunters and fishermen that were out spearing fish. Northern lights are most visible at midnight in the extreme north, and occasionally seen as far south as America’s Gulf Coast.
The Gatekeeper is an original Pendleton design from 1935. This USA-made wool blanket is a beautiful example of a Center Point pattern, which contains a primary design element that falls within a band through the center of the blanket. The eight-point star is a common motif in Sioux culture and often represents the morning star, signifying a new beginning with the break of dawn. As gatekeeper of the morning, it shows the way to the light and knowledge of the day.
Star of the sea, or Stella Maris, represents the guiding presence of the North Star. As a ‘pole star,’ it shines an abiding light by which sailors have navigated for as long as man has traveled the sea. The graduated palette of indigo, lapis, turquoise and ivory unfolds in a dynamic chevron pattern that evokes the emanation of starlight in the night sky, recalling the traditional craft of Star Quilts. Designer Alyssa Pheobus Mumtaz is an American artist known for her multimedia drawing practice, inspired by iconography of traditional textiles. Her work is exhibited worldwide and recognized by numerous fellowships and grants.
This dynamic blanket celebrates the pioneering spirit of our founder, weaver Thomas Kay, who journeyed to America from England, arriving in Oregon in 1863. Its design was inspired by a blanket discovered in a 19th-century European mill which included the designer’s notes and calculations handwritten neatly along the sides. The pattern highlights the universal appeal of geometric shapes and lines. The hooked patterns inside the large diamonds are common symbols of luck and prosperity. Its quality and beauty is a tribute to the generations of weavers that have continued Thomas Kay’s legacy of quality and excellence.
We’re having a gift card giveaway on Instagram over the weekend–starting tomorrow. If you win, which blanket would you choose?