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Posts from the ‘miscellaneous’ Category

Mea Alford, 1945 Pendleton Round-Up Princess

When Mary Esther Brock (or Mea, as she’s been called most of her life) was appointed to the Court, there hadn’t been a Pendleton Round-Up for two years. World War II was still going on, but the community missed their annual tradition so much that they decided to hold it anyway. And an important part of the Round-Up is the Round-Up Court.

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Pioneer Heritage

Round-Up royalty was chosen based on family history, age and ability to ride a horse. Mea, reminiscing, stressed that a family’s pioneer background was one of the most important criteria. Her father’s grandparents had come from Missouri on the Oregon Trail in 1848 or 1849, settling first in Heppner, where her father, Wilson E. Brock, was born. Her grandfather was treasurer of the first Pendleton Round-Up. So her pioneer pedigree was impeccable on her father’s side.

Mea’s mother came from New England. She’d graduated from Colby with a degree in library science, and gone west to open a library in North Bend. From there, she went to work at the University of Washington. She loved working in Seattle, but answered the call when the founding fathers of the town of Pendleton wanted to open a public library. She came to Pendleton and organized the town’s first library. She also met Wilson Brock, owner of Pendleton’s Taylor Hardware. They married, and Mea was born after a long wait for children.

“My father had to put up with an only girl child who wasn’t particularly athletic,” Mea remembered. She was active in drama and choir in high school, but she was the only child of a man who loved riding, hunting, skiing and boating. “I learned how to do all those things, but I was bad at all of them,” said Mea. She was much more interested in school than sports. “I loved my childhood—school was a wonderful and exciting place.”

The 1945 Court

Mea remembers a much smaller Round-Up than we see today, but it was an event. Her father, who owned the local hardware store, would close his business. Her parents had a box—she and her dad would go sit in the bleachers to be closer to the action–and her parents would host friends from all over the country. Said Mea, “The Round-Up was much loved by all.”

She was chosen as a Princess in April or May. Mea wasn’t exactly thrilled—she didn’t love horses—but the announcement of the court was a lengthy process full of suspense and fanfare. Princesses were announced one-by-one in the East Oregonian, with a photo and a big write-up. Two of the princesses were just out of the local high school—Mea and her friend Gloria, whose life dream was to be a princess. Another was from Helix, OR, and another was from a ranch in the foothills of the Wallowas. The Queen was part of a prominent local ranching family.

Said Mea, “Some of these girls had basically trained their entire lives to be on the Round Up Court. Not me, though. My dream was to be a Rose Festival Princess!” Mea might have felt underwhelmed, but her father was delighted. He had Hamley’s make a saddle for Mea with a silver horn, and had a leather fringe jacket like those worn for trick riding made for her as well. “My mother hated that jacket!”

Getting Ready

Mea had ridden since she was young alongside her father. They had matching grey Arabian horses—Tony was her father’s, and Smoky was Mea’s. She liked her dad’s horse better, as he was more active and less likely to pull back to the barn, so they traded. But she knew she wasn’t prepared for the level of horsemanship required. So she graduated from high school in late May and spent the first weeks of the summer of ’45 practicing her riding skills.

She was terrified.

Round-up Princesses had to jump two fences. Smoky was not a jumper, so a dear family friend loaned her a jumper—he was hard to control—much more difficult. Each day after she practiced the jumps, her father met her with a glass of ice water because her mouth was so dry from fear that she couldn’t even open her mouth. Said Mea, “This was the first experience in my life where I’d felt insecure and afraid. Thinking about it now still makes me shake.”

Summer Events

Over the summer, the Queen and her Court rode in very few parades. When they went to Portland for the big Rose Festival parade, they left the horses in Pendleton. Tires were extremely hard to get, and gas was impossible, so they went by train. She wore her special Round-Up attire, which included “Justin boots and a Stetson hat, which I didn’t like because it had a flat brim.”

Over the course of that summer, there were four Court events requiring escorts, and men were off in service.  Said Mea, “If you didn’t have a beau, the committee would find you one.” Mea did have a beau, in fact she’d had the same beau since first grade, but Bob Alford was in the service. Her dates for the four events were four strangers, all from different branches of the military. Mea said, “A mystery date for each date. They were all very nice. One of them showed up in my husband’s class in dental school. He came out one evening and told me, ‘I was your date during the Round-Up.’ He was the Navy date.”

The Main Event

September came, and with it, the main event. This would be a subdued and somber affair, not the usual swirl of socializing that Mew associated with the Round-Ups of her childhood. Soldiers on leave were there, reminding everyone of the sacrifices going on overseas. Since the war had drained off the men, women had taken over the ranches.

Said Mea, “Even producing the out-of-town horses was very difficult, because of the expense of getting them there. So there were a lot of local people raising calves and bulls and horses for the shows.” The result was much smaller, but people were so glad to have it back. Her mother didn’t mind the scaled-back nature of the Round-Up that year, as she could be overwhelmed by all the out-of-town hosting and general socializing.

On Opening Day, both horse and rider were nervous for the ride out. Pendleton firemen had hosed off the track on opening morning, and someone had left the firehose in front of the fence. Mea’s horse shied at the hose. Her mother says that she went so far over one side that the seat of her skirt brushed the ground, but she pulled herself up and back into the saddle. Mea was so terrified that she doesn’t remember, but her mother insisted that this was exactly how it happened.

Mea carried out all aspects of her courtly duties for the length of the Round-Up. On the last day, said Mea, “I got off my horse, got into my mother’s car and she drove me to California, where I was starting college.”

She has never been on a horse since.

Life after Round-Up

Mea arrived to Pomona wearing a fashionable shirtdress, a Hamley belt with silver buckle, her leather fringe jacket, white anklets and wooden sole Oscars (clogs). She got there late, due to her Round-Up duties. Her roommates were told to expect a rodeo princess. Mea thinks her roommates expected her to arrive on a horse.

Her mother sent her to school with 27 pleated skirts sewn with fabric from the Pendleton Woolen Mill. Said Mea, “I had absolutely NO ROOM FOR THEM. I finally mailed them home. This is how spoiled I was.”

Mea eventually transferred to the University of Oregon, where she was a standout in the school’s Theater department. She went to the Round-Up every year until she graduated, married, and moved to Hawaii with her husband, Bob Alford, “the same little boy who kissed me by the pencil sharpener in first grade.”

On a newlywed’s budget, they didn’t travel back to Pendleton very often. Once Mea had children of her own, they heard the story of Mea jumping the fence and brushing the ground many times. Later, when she finally took her children back to see it, she was surprised to see that somehow, the fence had shrunk!

The Princess Today

Mea and her husband raised their family in Portland, where she lives today. No one has taken up riding, although her daughter wanted (but never received) a horse. Mea’s custom saddle with the silver horn sits on a saddle block in her eldest granddaughter’s room.

During the Centennial of the Pendleton Round-Up, the directors asked the past royalty to return, to ride in the parade. Mea was one of six princesses who rode in a wagon pulled by donkeys. “Donkeys!” she laughed. “And no one knew who we were. ‘Who are you?’ people called out.” She remembered this with a smile while displaying the hat she wore.

She liked the brim of this hat much better–the hatband is the belt she was wearing in her photo above, and over her shirtdress when she arrived at Pomona.

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WE WALK TOGETHER by Ginew, Dyani White Hawk and Pendleton

Native American-owned apparel company Ginew of Portland, Oregon, has released their WE WALK TOGETHER wool blanket.

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The blanket represents a fusion of tribal cultures (Ojibwe, Oneida, and Mohican), and is the result of an exploration of design with artist DYANI WHITE HAWK. Each blanket is proudly woven in Oregon by Pendleton® Woolen Mills.

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GINEW, The Company

GINEW Gih-noo) is the only Native American owned premium denim collection. Focusing on American-made materials, they incorporate elements of their Native American heritage (Ojibwe, Oneida, & Mohican) to express a contemporary Native voice through premium apparel and accessories. Ginew is Native-Americana, fusing Native American style and workwear.

According to Ginew,

It is customary in our communities to wrap a newly joined couple in a blanket to symbolize their union. The blanket colors represent the sacred day (sunrise & sunset) and wampum belt (purples), teachings which impart values to guide us in our life together. The lodges are in the shape of traditional Ojibwe and Oneida dwellings. The crest fuses timeless symbols from each of our tribes, the dwelling (Ojibwe) and Skydome (Oneida). Together, the colors and symbols represent how we value our traditional beliefs in our home as we walk this journey of life together.

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The Artist, Dyani White Hawk

Dyani White Hawk is a mixed-media artist and curator working in Minneapolis, MN. White Hawk draws from her multi-cultural background and education to create abstract paintings and mixed media works that speak to her upbringing as a Lakota woman in an urban American landscape.

She talks about her background and design process:

I am a painter and mixed-media artist. I work predominantly in abstraction. My work combines influences, mediums and histories of modern abstract painting and Lakota abstract art forms. You can find more information on my website: www.dyaniwhitehawk.com

Erik, Amanda, and myself all met when we were at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was a brief, single dinner meeting, but the connection lasted. I was excited to hear from Erik on ways we could collaborate. He threw out a few different possibilities before this one came together. In a very collaborative process, we worked to achieve a design that spoke to each of their tribal backgrounds, their individuality, their partnership, and their vision for high quality, finely crafted, culturally rooted products.

I am grateful for the partnership and the opportunity provided through our work together. Moreover, I am most excited to be able to be a part of and support the dreams and visions for another Native entrepreneurial team.

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The WE WALK TOGETHER blanket is woven of pure virgin wool and cotton. Each wool blanket is 64” x 80”, unnapped, felt bound, and adorned with a custom suede patch. Available on ginewusa.com.

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A Colorful Smoky Mountain Elopement

Today’s post is a repost from thebridelink.com  (with permission, of course). Enjoy it here, and if you’d like to see more photos, head over there! 

Smoky Mountain Elopement

Photography:  Leah Moyers Photography    Officiant : Radiant Gatherings

There is something so intimate, meaningful, and special about an elopement. The act of two people intentionally choosing to say ‘I do’ JUST to each other (and sometimes just parents or immediate family) has a certain charm that we adore. We were smitten when looking through talented Leah Moyers‘ photographs of their creekside ceremony in the Smoky Mountains National Park. We are all about infusing meaning into as many wedding day details as possible and Sandie and Greg did this to perfection – below you’ll read how this sweet couple met and why boats and water are paramount in their relationship (swoon…). After a personalized ceremony reading by officiant Radiant Gatherings, the newlyweds headed to Tennessee staple property Blackberry Farm for dinner and continued celebrations. Cheers to the new Mr. and Mrs!

Leah Moyers said:

“Smoky Mountain and Blackberry Farm Elopement: Sandie & Greg’s intimate elopement was so special, what incredible locations! We started the day in their room at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. Blackberry Farm is “one of America’s most celebrated intimate luxury hotels… situated on a pastoral 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains… one of the top rated properties in the world.” Sandie chose a beautiful Alice+Olivia dress with intricate embroidered scenes depicting wildlife and nature, very fitting for their wedding day in the mountains. Sandie’s earrings were cast rosemary. During the Victorian era, the herbs a bride carried held serious meaning: rosemary stood for remembrance. She wore a cast feather bracelet, her grandmother’s pin in her hair and clogs from Bryr’s handmade bridal line. We enjoyed wandering around the farm and taking portraits by the stream, the garden and the boat house. Sandie & Greg met on a weekend long kayaking trip and the boat house was a perfect place for them to have portraits made as boats are an important and sentimental part of their life together. Their ceremony took place by the water on mossy rocks in a magnificent part of the Smoky Mountains National Park. Intimate elopements are seriously amazing to photograph and I enjoyed spending the day with Sandie & Greg, capturing them in these beautiful natural areas. After they said I do Greg washed Sandie’s feet in the mountain stream and they celebrated with more portraits, a glass of champagne and wrapped themselves up in a Great Smoky Mountains National Park Pendleton blanket, a beautiful wedding gift. They ended their day with a dinner and weekend celebration at Blackberry Farm and then off to a Caribbean honeymoon. Officiant- Radiant Gatherings, Yacoubian Tailors, Pretty Little Papers, earrings and cuff bracelet by Michael Michaud, The Clay Pot Floral”

Smoky Mountain Elopement


In continuing with the mountain and nature theme, Sandie and Greg’s inviations featured the prettiest foraged foliage.


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smoky Mountain Elopement


Sandie’s boho-fabulous Alice + Olivia gown was so her! We loved the personalization this couple placed on their wedding day.


Smoky Mountain Wedding

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Now this is a first kiss… cue the ‘aaaaw’ …


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Greg washed Sandie’s feet in the mountain stream. We love this meaningful and traditional gesture of utmost respect and love.


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Pendleton Buffalo / Bison blankets

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Pendleton has proudly woven storytelling blankets for over a century, and one of our most important subjects is the American Buffalo, or American Plains Bison. The story of this majestic symbol of the American West is rife with controversy and tragedy, and its resurgence stands as an important step towards a new beginning.  You can read some of that history here: Buffalo History. You can read about the recovery efforts here: Buffalo recovery

Below are all our beautiful Buffalo/Bison blankets.

In Their Element

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Part of our Legendary Collection, and created in partnership with Jemez Pueblo artist Joe Toledo, this USA-made wool blanket is a true work of art. A watercolor painting by the artist is rendered beautifully in pure virgin wool that’s been dyed and expertly woven in our Northwest mills. The design represents the three elements: Earth, Air and Water. A herd of bison grazes on the Earth, offering prosperity and protection. A range of mountains stands behind, their snowy peaks covered with life-giving Water. Standing eagle feathers rise into the sky, joining together Earth, Water and Air. Joe Toledo is a respected watercolor artist who mixes rainwater into his paints.

Way of Life

ZL494-52352-Way-of-Life-Legendary-FrontAlso part of our Legendary Collections, this USA-made wool blanket was created in collaboration with Jim Yellowhawk, a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux Tribe. The hunter and the buffalo imagery on this blanket depicts life for many Plains tribes, reliant on every part of the buffalo for food, tepee covers, shields, arrowhead and even soap. The tepees, in multiples of four, signify the four winds. The symmetrical design reflects the world above and below, as well as night and day. The purposeful design pays tribute to life in Pte Oyate, the Buffalo Nation.

 

 

Big Medicine

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The rare white bison occurs only once in every 10 million births. In 1933, a white buffalo was born in the wild on Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation and was called “Big Medicine” to reflect his sacred power. Many Native American tribes consider the return of the White Buffalo the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy and the beginning of a new era for the peoples and Mother Earth. Tradition spoke of the coming of a herd of pure White Buffalo. The seven bison on this blanket represent the seven directions: North, South, East, West, Above, Below and Within. Together they symbolize wholeness for mankind and the earth. Prayer pipes signify mankind’s communication with the Creator. In the center of the blanket, within the circle of life, are four hands representing the diverse peoples of the world and a new beginning. Shades of brown and green reflect the natural beauty of Mother Earth.

We have been asked over the years if this blanket contains real white buffalo hair. There was a VERY limited edition of this blanket woven with the hair of a rare white buffalo (and those will have a special patch to identify them) produced in 2010. Sales of the blanket helped benefit a nonprofit that, among other endeavors, funded the buffalo sanctuary where a rare white buffalo lived. You can read about that here: White Buffalo Blanket

Buffalo Roam

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These deft and natural studies of the bison mark “Buffalo Roam” as another design by Native American watercolor artist Joe Toledo, of the Jemez Pueblo. The buffalo was revered by many Native American tribes. The meat gave them food. The hides provided robes for warmth, tepee covers for shelter and shields for protection. Horns were crafted into bowls and arrowheads, and fat was rendered for candles and soap. The Buffalo Roam blanket captures the power of that mighty beast of the plains. The design puts the sacred buffalo in perspective. Looming large in close-up and appearing smaller in the distance, it was ever present in the lives of the Plains Indians. Mr. Toledo mixes soft rainwater with his colors to reflect images from his culture. His works are exhibited in collections in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Buffalo Wilderness

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The Buffalo Wilderness design recalls a peaceful time long, long ago. It was the time when millions of buffalo roamed grassy plains from Oregon to the Great Lakes, from Canada to Mexico. Today our National Parks protect the wilderness, and the remaining buffalo there roam free. One of the largest herds (more than 4,000) of free-ranging wild buffalo lives in and around Yellowstone National Park. It is thought to be the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. You can also see herds in Badlands, Grand Teton, Theodore Roosevelt and Wind Cave National Parks.

Prairie Rush Hour

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The bison, often referred to as the buffalo, is the largest land mammal in North America. A big buffalo can weigh a ton (2,000 pounds!) and stand six feet tall. And they can run as fast as 35 miles an hour. Long ago millions of these mighty buffalo roamed the plains, prairies and river valleys. It was a time when there were no houses on the hills. When countless forests were green and the trees grew tall. When deer grazed by mighty rivers. Today you can see wild buffalo only in our National Parks, where they are protected. You can see one of the largest herds of wild buffalo in the United States in Yellowstone National Park. A portion of the sales of this blanket are donated to the National Park Foundation to support projects in Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks. The Prairie Rush Hour is a jacquard throw that measures 64″ x 64″.  This blanket is also available in crib-size.

Buffalo Creation Story

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Buffalo are not typically associated with Navajo culture. So when contemporary Navajo artist Andrew Hobson discovered a story of how the buffalo evolved in Navajo creation stories, he was fascinated. Hobson’s original painting of the Buffalo-Who-Never-Dies of the White Buffalo Tribe inspired this Pendleton blanket. In the tale, Buffalo became angry with Holy Man for having two buffalo women as his wives. Holy Man killed the angry buffalo with magic arrows and wands. But to his dismay, all the buffalos began to die. Then sad, Holy Man brought the buffalo back to life and showed him how to revive all the other buffalo. The central figure shows the angry buffalo fractured in pieces to symbolize his death and journey back to life. Four buffalo tribes are shown inside protective medicine hoops, and the four sacred mountain ranges of the Navajo surround the central buffalo. The artist frames the work in the abstract rainbow symbolizing his personal Yeii, or protective deity. This blanket is part of the Pendleton Legendary Series.

 

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Jessica Enjoys Pendleton Athleisure Wear–on sale May 1st & 2nd

Pendleton leisure/sleep/lounge wear is on sale today and tomorrow;  use code RELAX at checkout at www.pendleton-usa.com.

To show you our athleisure in action, here is Jessica Lindsey of Edge Movement Arts, posing near the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Along with the beautiful photos, Jessica talks about her path and her approach to teaching yoga. 

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I went through my initial yoga instructor certification and started teaching in 2008.  I had been practicing various forms yoga since 1999.  I initially started doing yoga after I tore my ACL in a dance performance and needed a gentle way to heal my body after I had surgery to repair it.  Yoga allowed me to slowly ease into finding movement and range of motion after months of limited mobility, muscle atrophy, and an abundance of scar tissue post-surgery.

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It was a slow process and I thought I was just doing it for the physical benefits at the time, but after each session I would feel so grounded and calm, like all the troubles of life and the world where somehow less significant or important.  That is what really convinced me that yoga was something that I needed to have in my life long-term. Yoga changed me physically – longer, leaner, and more flexible use of my muscles, but it was the changes in how I experienced the world in a more joyful and positive way that feel the most significant now.

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When I returned to my dance career I found that I had so much more awareness of what it meant to exist and be in my body, how to express with my body. As I went down the path of training to be a competitive ballroom dancer (or as we call it in the ballroom world, a “Dancesport Athlete”) I found yoga’s ability to create calm, centered energy helped to balance out the fire of being a competitive athlete.

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Dance is my expressing outwardly to the world – doing part, yoga is  my receiving, letting go and simply being part!  Or to put it more simply…. Dance is Doing, Yoga is Being!

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I draw from many different bodies of knowledge to influence what I offer to my students.  Sometimes a classic “yoga asana” or pose is in order, other times I draw from the Chinese energy meridian system, from fascial and kinesiological stretching techniques, and other times from my knowledge from years working in veterinary surgery and the biomechanics of mammalian injury and recovery.

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I am a body knowledge geek.  I can spend hours researched the interconnected relationships of why stretching your foot will make your shoulder feel better, or why that tender spot on your thigh could mean that your liver is out of balance.  The body is this beautiful puzzle and each person’s life experiences have shaped every inch of the person I see standing before me in a group class or a private session.

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I recognize that no two people are the same and that no single variation of a pose is going to work for everyone.  How could it? No one else has lived the life you have lived in the exact beautiful, crazy, messy way that you have.  I honor that, see that, and try to the best of my ability to create an environment and a practice that lets my students own their personal freedom to choose what is right for them.

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The most important aspects of how I decided what to wear when doing yoga are in no particular order:

Do I look good in it? By that I mean that when I look in the mirror I feel it is flattering  and makes me feel good about myself.

Does it move well with me? there is nothing worse then a pair of yoga pants that feel like they are falling down or do not give me full range of motion. So really good stretch and cut are important.

Is the fabric comfortable and breathable and odor-resistant? Since I am physically active all day long in my professional life, it is so important that my clothing feels nice to exist in, and that it stays fresh all day long.

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Great yoga clothing needs to be multipurpose. My favorite items are those that look good, feel good, and fit well not only during my practice, but when I greet new clients, and then go have a meal with friends.

Our men’s sleepwear and athleisure is available with the same discount: use the code RELAX at pendleton-usa.com.

Enjoy your week, and relax.

 

 

 

National Tartan Day–it’s here!

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Ed. Note: Please enjoy a post on National Tartan Day, parts of which have appeared before on our blog.

Thursday, April 6th is National Tartan Day. Some of our readers live, breathe, eat and sleep tartans. They are steeped in their clan histories. They know the difference between the ancient, dress, hunting and standard versions of their clan’s tartan. But other readers aren’t quite sure of what exactly makes a tartan a tartan. How does a tartan differ from any other plaid?

We say it best with the title of one of our most popular Pinterest boards: All tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans. A tartan looks like a plaid, but it is so much more than that.  A tartan is a statement of identity. Tartans were originally regional designs, worn as “plaids,” pieces of fabric worn slung over the shoulder. Scotland’s warriors wore their plaids with pride to announce their family affiliations and political loyalties.

The Dress Act of 1746 was enacted to prohibit the wearing of the plaid, as part of colonial suppression of the Highlands: That from and after the first day of August, One thousand, seven hundred and forty-six, no man or boy within that part of Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty’s Forces, shall, on any pretext whatever, wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder-belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid of stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats, and if any such person shall presume after the said first day of August, to wear or put on the aforesaid garment or any part of them, every such person so offending … For the first offence,shall be liable to be imprisoned for 6 months, and on the second offence, to be transported to any of His Majesty’s plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years.

That’s right, tartans were illegal; inflammatory and subversive. If you’re not a history buff, but you watch Outlander , you already know this.

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Photo courtesy Sony Pictures TelevisionLeft Bank PicturesStarz

In 1782, the Dress Act was repealed through the following proclamation: Listen Men. This is bringing before all the Sons of the Gael, the King and Parliament of Britain have forever abolished the act against the Highland Dress; which came down to the Clans from the beginning of the world to the year 1746. This must bring great joy to every Highland Heart. You are no longer bound down to the unmanly dress of the Lowlander. This is declaring to every Man, young and old, simple and gentle, that they may after this put on and wear the Truis, the Little Kilt, the Coat, and the Striped Hose, as also the Belted Plaid, without fear of the Law of the Realm or the spite of the enemies.

When the Dress Act was repealed in 1782, tartans were no longer worn as ordinary Highland dress. They were adopted as the official national dress of Scotland. Tartan grew from regional plaid to warrior garb to a badge of kinship.  These patterns are a visual illustration of the bond between personal and political freedom.

We’re not tartan experts at Pendleton, just fabric experts. When we we use these designs, we do it with respect for the history of the design we’re using. Our designers refer to rare reference books stored under archival conditions in our design department (please don’t ask to see them because they will not hold up to visitors, we have to say no). We also use modern tartans, like Canada’s Maple Leaf, and our own Pendleton Hunting Tartan, registered with the Scottish Tartan Society in 1999.

Tartans have been part of the Pendleton offering since our earliest days, beginning with our motor robes. We call them that because we originally wove them to cover the laps of motorists in the earliest days of the automobile.

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We’ve been making tartan shirts, Topsters, motoring caps and robes for men since the 1920s. Women have always been part of the Pendleton tartan action, as well. Today, tartans have taken fashion by storm, because these patterns are timeless, we return to them.

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If you’re wanting to add tartan, but you’re not sure where to start, try Black Watch tartan, the tartan designed to look black from a distance (pictured is a vintage Pendleton shirt, get a new one from us here — or here, if you want a Sir Pendleton!).

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This is also known at the Government or 42nd tartan, developed to wear by the Black Watch, one of the early Highland Independent Companies. From a distance, the pattern reads black. It’s the stealth tartan. Around here, we call it Highland Camo, and though it’s one of our perennial bestsellers, it’s a challenge to photograph for a catalog. But we do, as you can see if you pay us a visit at pendleton-usa.com. We have tartan items galore for women, men, and home.

We hope your National Tartan Day is a good one, and remember: Wear Your Plaid With Pride.

Brand Ambassador Profile: Brandon Burk

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(outerwear)

Brandon, tell us a little about where you live and what you do.

I reside in Salt Lake City, Utah with my beautiful wife Leia and two daughters, Ella (4) and Eden (2).  I specialize in wedding portraiture, family portraiture and product photography. Photography is my full time job. I enjoy creating everyday. I am extremely organized, meticulous and detail oriented.

I love exploring the great outdoors. I love hiking, A-frame cabins, leather goods, mountains, ranches, lakes, canoes and evergreen trees. I rarely go anywhere without my camera, tripod, and Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Photography Experience: 10 years

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(socks)

What drew you to photography? Was it always your passion?

Growing up I always loved to express my creativity. My junior year of high school I took a photography course where I learned to shoot and process film. After high school I served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was located in Atlanta, Georgia during that time. In Atlanta, I focused full-time on serving the Lord. After my return home I started doing photography as my occupation and the rest was history.

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(wool shirts)

How did you learn your craft?

 I started my photography career working at a upscale photography studio in my early twenties. No college – just hands on experience. The photographer I worked under had been in the business for some 25 years. While I was working at the studio, I was simultaneously building my own clientele on the side. Once I had enough clients, I left the studio to work my own photography business full-time.

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Your photos have a refined sense of arrangement and composition. How long does it take you to set up a shot?

A set up for a product photo can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a full hour. Flat lay photography definitely takes longer. Over the last year I have also created pieces where the product and elements are built upward, vertically – I call them “Vertical Builds”. The key here is to build different visual levels: high, low and medium height levels. I did a flat lay photography job for my good friends over at Clif Bar where I spent around one hour setting up each photograph in addition to the 30 hours searching antique shops and Ebay for all the vintage items I used in my set up. You can view my Clif Bar photos here .

BrandonBurkPhotography.com

(wool shirts)

Do you have any advice for people who look up to you?

I would advise to work hard at your craft, pay attention to the smallest details, be original and create often.

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That is wonderful advice. What draws you to Heritage brands?

Heritage brands are classic and timeless. They never go out of style. Made in America manufacturing is important to me. I love the quality of workmanship that comes with a good Heritage brand.

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(outerwear)

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 What is the secret to the distinctive and warm look of your photography (or as much of the secret as you’d like to share)?

Some key items that make up my style of photography on my Instagram account. Lighting, attention to detail, warm brown tones, reclaimed wood and adventurous vibes.

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Are there other photographers you admire that we should check out?

One of my favorite photographers is Roberto Dutesco. He photographs wild horses. I love how it’s his sole focus. Website: dutescoart.com

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(blanket)

What do you love most about Instagram?

I have always loved creating. Instagram is the perfect way for sharing my creativity to the world. I also love being able to see what others are creating. Instagram has been a great way to improve and sharpen my photography skills. I am able to analyze which photographs my following like best and continue to create imagery based around that.

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(blanket)

 What made you decide to showcase your sense of fashion on Instagram?

I first started my account showcasing some of my scenic and portraiture work. As I continued to spend more time on Instagram, I started to network and follow other people posting their sense of style and threads. It slowly evolved into me starting to do the same.

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Where do you find inspiration?

One person who inspires me is Albert Einstein. He had the most incisive mind! I love his creativity and unique way of thinking. I am also inspired by a lot of what I see on Instagram. It’s amazing how much better of a photographer Instagram can make you. Every image you put out there is a open critique for the world to see, comment, like or dislike etc.

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(blanket)

What have you learned from creating your art?

There are people who do art to do art and then there are people who do art to make a living. As artists a lot of us are perfectionists. We want to hang onto our art and work on it for days and months making it perfect. We have a hard time letting go of it. To be a full time artist and make a living at doing so, you have to learn to let go of your art – get the job done and move onto the next one.

BrandonBurkPhotography.com

(pillows)

What are some of your favorite Pendleton pieces?

I love the Chief Joseph Blankets – I use these all the time on portrait session.

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I also love my Pendleton pillows and my Sky Stone Turquoise Gorge Jacket.

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(outerwear)

Website: BrandonBurkPhotography.com

Instagram:@BrandonBurkPhotography & @UtahWeddingPhotographer

Facebook: facebook.com/brandonburkphotography

Brand Ambassador Mikal Wright

 

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(shirt)

Ed. note: We are going to be featuring our fantastic brand ambassadors over the rest of this year, telling their stories in photos and words. Today we are profiling Mikal Wright of Pendleton, Oregon.

What kind of photography do you specialize in?

Photography is something that I started taking seriously about eight months ago. I purchased a drone and would go out and shoot aerial shots every chance I had.

Now that I’ve purchased a DSLR camera, I’d have say portrait photography is what I’m currently shooting as much as possible. I’ve been fortunate to have a solid network of friends who are professional photographers. They have guided me along the way.

Most of my shoots are in the Pacific Northwest, so you’ll see quite a bit of nature in my photography, but I’ve been challenging myself to get into the city more and shoot.

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(sweater)

What’s your dream shoot location and why (and don’t say Iceland—everyone does)?

This question literally made me laugh out loud because you are so right! Out of all the beautiful places in the world, everyone wants to go to Iceland. So I will change it up and choose El Nido. It’s a Philippine town located at the most northern tip of Palawan, an island that has a coastline dotted with over 1700+ islands and islets! I’ve read that the electricity there only runs 12 hours a day, so you have no choice but to unplug and explore the beauty of the island.

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(men’s sale coats)

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You scored many points for choosing somewhere original, Mikal. Where does your affinity for heritage brands come from? 

First and foremost, I was born and raised in Pendleton, Oregon. From my earliest childhood, I remember going to my grandparents home and falling in love with the blankets hanging on their living room walls.

Fast forward to the present, I’m now working for the company that I grew up loving! There’s something extremely special about Pendleton, the fact that it’s constantly evolving as a brand even after being around for over 100 years is amazing. That helped pave the way for my brand affinity.

Its also shaped the way I go about my photography. I definitely consider Pendleton as “The Outdoor Lifestyle of America” but I also see Pendleton as a high-end fashion brand.

We agree, and we love your photos that show this side of Pendleton.

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(sale coats)

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Growing up in Pendleton, and working for Pendleton, we wonder if you you have any family stories about Pendleton?

There’s one story that sticks with me the most. I was in the 7th grade and my family and I were heading back home after visiting my aunt and uncle in La Grande, Oregon. I remember there being a lot of snow that winter. The roads were extremely icy. A few cars ahead of us, a man lost control of his vehicle and flipped sideways into a ditch.

My dad and a few other cars immediately pulled over to see if he was okay.  My dad was always prepared for emergencies, and he kept an old Pendleton Camp blanket in the trunk of the car, which he gave to the man to keep warm until the ambulance arrived. I remember telling all of my friends at school the next day, “If it wasn’t for my dad’s old blanket that guy would have froze to death.” So I’d like to think that our Pendleton blanket saved a mans life that day.

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(shirt)

Your brand ambassador work comes from a unique place—you are actually a Pendleton team member. What do you want to say about the brand with your shots?

Each and every day, I have the opportunity to communicate with our consumers on a personal level. I get to hear their thoughts and I also have the chance to keep them informed and up-to-date with what we’re doing as a company. In return, I get a sense that they feel more involved and invested in our brand.

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(sweater)

I think the best artists and photographers create work that is a reflection of who they are. Pendleton is who I am and I truly hope that when people see my images they feel a sense of authenticity. This brand also has so much history and with every photo I take I want to make sure that every garment that I’m photographing is presented in a way that when people see it they know automatically that it’s a Pendleton, a brand that’s iconic in so many ways.

Please enjoy this movie by Mikal, featuring his muse and model, @brandyisthecatsmeow .

Follow Mikal on Instagram for more wonderful photography: @atribeoutwest

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What is virgin wool? And is it better than recycled wool?

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Here at Pendleton, we use pure virgin wool for our famous blankets and shirts – but what is virgin wool, and why does that matter? Keep reading to learn the difference between virgin and recycled wool and what each is best for.

Virgin wool

Virgin wool is simply wool that’s never been used before–but that difference matters. It’s better than recycled wool because it’s stronger and higher quality. Pure virgin wool is naturally breathable in both cold and warm weather, water-repellent, durable and insulating. It also resists wrinkles, stains and odors. Even though you can dry-clean wool shirts, many people simply hang them up and let them air out, finding that to be just as effective.

Since virgin wool fibers haven’t been shredded like recycled wool, they’re more resilient—they don’t break or wrinkle as easily and can provide more stretch. A shirt made of virgin wool can last for decades—some Pendleton customers pass down their Board Shirts through several generations. Not something you can say about cotton or synthetic materials, right?

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Recycled wool

You wouldn’t necessarily think of wool in the same category as paper bags, aluminum cans and plastic bottles, but like those three, it’s recyclable. Recycled wool got a burst of popularity during World War II, when fabrics were rationed because wool was needed for military uniforms. As a result, civilians would recycle wool blankets into coats, or use the yarn from wool socks to knit sweaters. Very resourceful, right?

Recycled wool is also called “reclaimed wool” or “shoddy wool.” Recycled wool is exactly what it sounds like: wool that’s been used to make one product, then used to make something else. Recycled wool is great for insulation, cloth diaper covers, DIY rugs, polishing metal, applying wood stain, absorbing spills and more.

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However, recycled wool isn’t the best for clothing and blankets if softness is your goal. To recycle wool, the fibers are torn apart and respun, which lowers the quality. Recycled wool can be “a little more harsh or fuzzy,” explains a wool crafting site. Adds one yarn site, “Most recycled wool goods have a harsh feel to them.” At Pendleton, our goal is soft, premium wool clothing and blankets, which is why we exclusively use pure virgin wool.

Today, companies are legally required by the Federal Trade Commission to specify if wool is recycled. So if a wool garment isn’t specified as virgin or recycled, it’s probably virgin wool. Now the next time someone wonders, “What is virgin wool?” you’ll know the answer!

For pure virgin wool blankets, clothing and accessories designed to last for decades, shop Pendleton at pendleton-usa.com.

WOVEN: an interactive magazine for Pendleton Woolen Mills

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We’re so excited to present the first issue of WOVEN , our Pendleton lifestyle magazine, celebrating winter, wool, and the romance of Pendleton.  We launched the print version last week at the Outdoor Retailer trade show, where it was received with enthusiasm. In the online version, there are links to stories and our Pendleton Threads podcast.

Ready for a terrifying tale of winter survival? Click the link. Curious about where the money we raised for the National Park Foundation is going? There’s a link for that, too. With gorgeous photography by brand ambassadors including Brandon BurkShondina Leeour #pendle10park explorers and more, WOVEN is a feast for the eyes.

Check it out here: www.pendleton-usa.com/mag