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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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GQ: “Jeff Bridges will be “The Dude’ Now and Forever” (thanks to his sweater)

This week,  GQ.com is featuring everyone’s favorite Dude, Jeff Bridges.  He’s wearing a banquet of sweaters, a feast of sweaters, or maybe it’s a flock of sweaters.

Of course the standout is the Westerley Cardigan.

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Photo courtesy GQ.com

We think you should go read this. But that’s just our opinion. And if you are reading this blog post between 9/22/201 and 9/25/2017, you can save 25% off the Westerley with the code “FAMILY”.

Top Ten to Buy with your Friends & Family Discount

Our Fall Friends & Family sale is here, with 25% off all your men’s and Women’s apparel purchases–no exclusions! This is your chance to get those items you’ve been eyeing at a fantastic price with the code FAMILY.

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Details: 9/20/17 through 9/25/17. 25% off all apparel with the code FAMILY. We also have FREE SHIPPING on orders of $150 and up. Pendleton Retail stores are offering 25% off all apparel, socks, towels, shower curtains, and rugs. Pendleton Outlet Stores have great deals going on, too, so stop in and see what you can’t live without!

Here are our top ten picks for what to buy during Pendleton’s Friends & Family event!

10_ Notch Collar Pea Coat

Pendleton is the place to go for REAL outerwear that will last you for seasons. The double-breasted Pea Coat is a classic design, patterned after the warm wool coats worn by sailors. Ours is a little more shaped, to flatter you. See your color choices here.

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9_Harding Jacquard Moto Jacket

Another classic with an entirely different feel; moto jacket styling in our historic Harding pattern. The discount on this one is awesome, so don’t hold back! More information here.

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Dustin Rowley Photography

8_ Gorge Jacket in Papago Park Jacquard

Our Gorge Jacket is an archival style, our Papago Park jacquard is a new favorite. This one will last you for life. Check it out here.

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Brandon Burk Photography

7_Eton Plaid Blazer

Plaid blazers are the street style look of the season. Classic styles like these can be worn so many ways, so get creative! See your blazer options here.

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Dustin Rowley Photography

6_ Pamela Pleat Skirt

Is there anything more Pendleton than a pleated wool skirt? This one has front and back pleats sewn flat at the hips. The plaid is more visible as you walk, because the pleats open with your steps. Wool is woven in the USA, skirt made in the USA. See it here.

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5_The Cushman Cruiser

Another archival classic! A car coat with the retro style you love (and some of you remember). We changed up the buffalo check for this subtle tonal plaid, adding style but keeping all the lumberjack appeal. More info here.

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4_ Starburst Stripe Cardigan

Relaxed fit in pure merino wool with an intricate pattern on the back. You’ll reach for this over and over as the days get cooler. Perfect over jeans and and this season’s new favorite, cords. Size info here.

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3_Westerley in both colors

Dude, relax. You can have this now. And if you already own the classic Tan, we respectfully ask that you consider the new Black and Red, which isn’t new at all, really. It’s another colorway from the archives. Both abiding for you here.

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Taylor Colson, Cameron Powell Photography

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2_49’er Jacket

Still going strong after almost 70 years, the 49’er was the star piece in Pendleton’s first full womenswear collection in 1949. Its simple shape and superb construction will be part of your wardrobe for a long, long time. See more colors here.

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1_ALL PENDLETON WOOL SHIRTS

All of them. Yes, that’s right. ALL MEN’S WOOL SHIRTS ARE 25% OFF. Do we need to say more? See your many choices here: MEN’S WOOL SHIRTS

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And all women’s wool shirts, too! See them here: WOMEN’S WOOL SHIRTS

That’s it. What would you put at #1?

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Photography by Pendleton Woolen Mills unless otherwise noted. Many thanks to our talented brand ambassadors.

 

 

 

 

 

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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Force Friday II : Two New Chapters in the Star Wars x Pendleton Blanket Saga

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Pendleton Woolen Mills is proud to announce two new blankets in our Star Wars x Pendleton blanket series, in honor of Episode VIII, The Last Jedi. Preorder Here: Star Wars Blankets.

The history

Forty years ago, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” scrolled across a screen for the very first time.  In the decades since, generations of fans have visited the Star Wars universe through films, novels, graphic novels, amusement rides and more.

When LucasFilm became part of the Disney family, Pendleton Woolen Mills was there to welcome them, thanks to an association that stretches all the way back to opening day of Disneyland in 1955, when Walt Disney invited us to open a western mercantile in Frontierland.

Star Wars today

Pendleton celebrates the latest Star Wars’ release with designs that combine timeless Pendleton motifs with Star Wars characters who wield the power of the Force; for good and for evil. “Remember…the Force will be with you, always.”

The Blankets!

The Last Jedi

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a new chapter in the Star Wars saga unfolds. Flanked by the Millennium Falcon, Rey stands at the center, raising her lightsaber in a gesture of defiance against the First Order. The story of Star Wars: The Last Jedi unfolds in a Banded Stripe pattern that harkens back to the Golden Age of trade blankets.  This exclusive Pendleton design is available in a hand-numbered edition of 1,977 with a custom Star Wars label and Certificate of Authenticity.

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  • 64″ x 72″
  • Unnapped, felt bound
  • 82% pure virgin wool/18% cotton
  • Jacquard woven for a dramatic reverse option
  • Dry clean
  • Made in USA

The Last Jedi blanket arrives packaged in a box that will fit with your Ultimate Collector’s Set.

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A New Alliance

The perfect gift for your favorite young Padawan: a child-sized blanket featuring beloved character Chewbacca in an exclusive Pendleton design for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. A confused Chewbacca studies the porgs, not sure what to make of these curious and mimicking creatures.

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  • 32″ x 44″
  • Napped with whipstitch binding
  • 82% pure virgin wool/18% cotton
  • Jacquard woven for a dramatic reverse option
  • Dry clean
  • Made in USA

A New Alliance comes packaged in a special collector’s box.

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How to get them!

Pre-order these new blankets at www.pendleton-usa.com. And enjoy these two gentlemen enjoying the heck out of their new Star Wars Pendleton blankets!

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WOVEN: Pendleton’s interactive magazine for Summer 2017

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It’s here! The second issue of WOVEN , our Pendleton lifestyle magazine, celebrates summer, surf, sand, and Pendleton road trips.  We launched the print version at the Outdoor Retailer trade show, where it was received with enthusiasm that matched our winter issue. We love featuring the work of our talented brand ambassadors in print!

The online version links to related stories, so check it out right here: www.pendleton-usa.com/mag

Here In Portland: blanket giveaway and coloring entry!

Beards, bicycles, brews…our new “Here in Portland” blanket celebrates all things Portland in a style inspired by mid-century illustration and IFC’s “Portlandia,” a show that has lovingly mocked the Rose City for seven seasons, with the eighth and final season premiering in 2018. We can’t wait!

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The blanket is being woven and finished right now, and it’s all here, folks; the World Naked Bike Ride, small-batch artisanal pickling, coffee, Craftsman homes, the peaks of the Willamette Valley, backyard chicken coops, tattoos, the Belmont Goats, the OHSU Tram, and SO MUCH MORE!

We’re celebrating the blanket’s release with a blanket giveaway, and entering is going to be so much fun. We have a coloring sheet of the blanket, and you can let us know exactly how you see Portland by coloring it as you will.

Visitors to the Grand Opening of Pendleton Park Avenue West can enter with sheets at the party. But you can enter at home!

  1. Download an entry sheet here (you can right-click the jpeg below, or download a pdf HERE ) and color it!

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  1. Take a photo of your colored Here in Portland coloring sheet and post the photo on Instagram with the hashtags #MyPendleton and #BornInOregon .
  2. Follow, or be a follower of the @pendletonwm Instagram .

It’s that easy! And that FUN! Additional information and official rules after the jump.

Read more

Pendleton, Park Avenue West – Grand Opening on Thursday!

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Here is your official invitation to to the grand opening of our newest store – Pendleton at Park Avenue West.

Thursday, August 24, 2017
4:00 – 8:30 pm – Join us for the Pendleton at Park Avenue West Grand Opening!

Born in Oregon: Our new flagship shopping experience celebrates the fleece-to-fashion world of Pendleton Woolen Mills, the original Northwest Makers. Visit our newest store, located on beautiful Director Park in the heart of Portland’s downtown. Shop a curated selection of home goods, apparel for men and women, and our iconic wool blankets. Learn about Pendleton’s story of pioneers, craftsmanship and quality, a legacy that’s been part of Oregon and Washington for over a century. This is the Pendleton store you’ve been waiting for! We look forward to seeing you there.

• Live music from Kris Deelane & The Hurt will play as we go camping in a forest in Director Park with the Pendleton x Airstream trailer, Poler tents, live trees and more.
• Live music info here: http://krisdeelaneandthehurt.com/
• Oregon Makers booths will feature screen printing, wool crafts and other fun stuff.
• Take a very Pendleton photo at our photo booth.
• Have a question? An idea? We want to hear! Pendleton designers will be instore for Q+A on product, manufacturing, design inspiration.
• Enjoy a drink and a snack on us. We’re hosting a bar with beverages, beer, wine and cocktails featuring ROGUE ALES and spirits from Hood River Distillery, along with delicious bites and treats.
• Additional Grand Opening specials include gifts with purchase (while supplies last), daily enter-to-win and grand prize drawings.
• For our loyal friends, double reward Pendleton Perks on store purchases!
RSVP HERE – but if you just show up, you’ll still have a blast!

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We will see you there!

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Return of the Sun

IG_08_21_GiveawayImageThe Path of Totality has tracked across the United States, and the moment of total solar eclipse has passed. Millions of eclipse watchers were watching the skies of North American, which will not see another eclipse like this until April 8, 2024. We’re celebrating the return of the sun with an Instagram giveaway. Click here for details: INSTAGRAM

And if you win that giveaway? Consider treating yourself to a Return of the Sun Blanket.

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The traditions and activities of the Iñupiat, today, as in the past, revolve around the changing of the seasons. This blanket, inspired by the artwork of Larry Ahvakana, celebrates the arrival of the sun back to the Arctic and the start of hunting season. The Iñupiat mark this special time with the Messenger Feast—a ceremony where the spirits of the past season’s harvest are ushered back into the spirit world. Today, the celebration fosters cultural pride and the regeneration of traditional values. This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund to honor and reawaken a vital part of Native history.

Return of the Sun was designed for the American Indian College Fund Blanket Series by Alaskan artist Larry Ahvakana. Born in Fairbanks, Larry was raised in Point Barrow until the age of six, when his family moved to Anchorage. He left behind his grandparents, his native tongue, and many of the traditional cultural influences that had shaped his childhood. But these have re-emerged through his art, becoming the basis for his inspired work. He works in a variety of media, including stone, glass, bone, metal and wood. His masks bring tradition to life with mythic imagery in old-growth wood.

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mask image courtesy of the Blart Museum

Larry has been a working artist since 1972. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Larry is widely recognized as an educator, instructing over the years at the Institute of American Indian Art, heading the Sculpture Studio at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and founding a teaching studio for glass blowing in Barrow, Alaska. His works are included in a large number of major museums, corporate collections, private art collections and as public art commissions. You can learn more about his work here. And you can see all of the AICF blankets here. The sale of these blankets supports scholarships for Native American students.

As for the sun? Welcome back.

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