On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

This concludes (I think, perhaps I missed something) a bunch of great photos from JR in WV.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and don’t let the focus on flowers, chocolate, jewelry, eating out, etc. crowd out the simple joy of being with and appreciating the one you love, who luckily loves you. That’s the gift, so appreciate it!

Today, pictures from valued commenter J R in WV.

This is a set of photos from Two Grey Hills clan of the Navajo Nation. Also known as Toadlina, which is still the name of the local operating trading post, the Toadlina Trading Post. This trading post was closed and vandalized for a decade before a collector of Navajo fabric art bought it, restored it, and operates it as it was operated since 1897.

Two Grey Hills weaving is unique in that the colors in the weaving are not dyed colors, they are the colors of the wool as it grew on the actual sheep of the Two Grey Hills clan. When a shepherd / weaver developed a new color of sheep, a blond almost yellow shade when cleaned and carded, there was tension and anger, and the chapter house required her to sell some of the unique flock so that the jealousy would subside. Some colors are a blend of two sets of wool, and I suspect some black wool is dyed to make it more even.

The trading post accepts weaving from local artists from youngsters just beginning to weavers in their 90s. They issue credit to weavers for supplies, food, wool, tools, etc to be paid by delivery of new rugs, cloaks, or blankets.

Toadlina Trading Post

Taken on 2008-05-29

Two Grey Hills, NM

f/9.0 1/320 sec. 40mm

This is the restored Toadlina Trading Post, home of the well known Two Grey Hills rugs

Inside the front room of the Toadline Trading Post.

Taken on 2008-05-29

In the trading post’s front room

f/3.5 1/60 sec. 27mm w/flash

This room is where tools, food, snacks and weaving supplies are sold for cash or credit for weaving.

Toadlina Weaving Museum

Taken on 2008-05-29

The Museum vault of Toadlina Trading Post

f/4.0 1/60 sec. 27mm w/flash

One of the most important parts of this trading post is the private museum, showing weaving from beginners to advanced artists, from newly finished superior rugs to antique collectible rugs and blankets.

The two rugs on the right are at least a century old and include ancient Navajo symbols as most Two Grey Hills rugs do. I think the rug on the left is somewhat newer and less traditional.

Toadlina Museum

Taken on 2008-05-29

Toadlina Museum

f/4.0 1/60 sec. 27mm flash

This is a set of highly figured Two Grey Hills rugs, looms and photos of weavers. Most of these include some of the unique light brown wool developed by a Two Grey Hills shepherd. All modern rugs sold here include photos of the weaver, the rug with the weaver, and often the sheep that provided the wool. These artists are very proud of their heritage and ability to create such useful art essentially from nothing but their herd and their skill.

Kokopelli Rug

Taken on 2008-05-29

Toadlina Trading Post

f/4.0 1/60 sec. 29mm flash

This is a large Kokopelli rug. Kokopelli is a trickster god of fertility, agriculture and music. In this rug he is surrounded by livestock and other religious symbols I won’t attempt to explain, because i don’t understand them very well myself.

Navajo beliefs include many levels of mystical creatures, most of which have symbols which can be used safely in rugs and other household items. I think this rug is full of them.

Mother and Child Reunion

Taken on 2008-05-29

Two Grey Hills, New Mexico

f/14.0 1/640 sec. 105.0mm

This is the view East from the front porch of the Toadlina Trading Post. One of the Two Grey Hills is in the middle distance, with houses and a ranch view in the foreground, including a beautiful mare and her foal.

The background is miles of New Mexico’s dry plains with a rocky ridge on the far right hand.


Thank you so much J R in WV, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

16 replies
  1. 1
    Mary G says:

    Beautiful rugs, and the story about the special sheep is new to me.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    It’s not a butte it’s a mound!

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    The rugs were gorgeous. Thanks for the pictures 😄

  4. 4
    p.a. says:

    Great stuff, wonderful weaving. ++ for the exposure info.

  5. 5
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    Love the rugs. Always have- even when I was a kid.

  6. 6
    debbie says:

    Beautiful rugs!

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    Wonderful pictures, and I would be so tempted to get up close to those rugs. Thanks J R.

  8. 8
    Quinerly says:

    💚 Was there a couple years ago in the snow and ice. Thanks for bringing back those memories.❤

  9. 9
    Waratah says:

    I would love to have one of those rugs. Thank you for the photos and story J R.

  10. 10
    HinTN says:

    I am jonesing for the Kokopelli rug. Beautiful work; beautiful photographs. THANKS

  11. 11
    laura says:

    These photos are lovely. The skill on weaving patterns is nothing short of amazing. I imagine these must feel so good under bare feet with soft/scratchy wool.
    I’ll bet Poco could strike a dramatic pose on such a rug…..

  12. 12
    J R in WV says:

    We met the Toadlina folks in Santa Fe at a Native American Art Show on Museum Hill, which has three small museums around a large courtyard. The courtyard is where the show is held, and where I took the picture of Comanche Dancers in wonderful full regalia in the Santa Fe portion of these photos.

    The Toadlina Trading Post folks were the only non-Native Anglos in the whole show, and were allowed in because of their work to showcase the Two Gray Hills Clan’s weaving work. Unusual rugs, special rugs, or large rugs can run into the 5 figures – they often go to museums or high-end collectors. These include round rugs, which are especially hard to weave and are often done on wagon wheels instead of a regular loom, and Sand-Painting rugs, which are only now allowed to preserve ritual sand paintings when a specific pattern is in danger of dying out and which include special pattern items to kind of de-sanctify the sand painting pattern, which is intended to be blown away by the desert wind at the end of a ritual ceremony.

    There was a huge amount of controversy over weaving sand paintings among the Shaman and weaver community. But parts of the religion were in danger of being lost, and so the community decided to preserve some patterns in wool for the ages. I’m sure many of those rugs are very much Not For Sale, but others are. Ohio University has a good collection of these rugs in Athens. Who knew, right?

    Happy Valentine’s Day, all!!

  13. 13
    Jerzy Russian says:

    I tried to upload 7 photos with sizes between 3 and 5 MB. The connection failed because the server dropped the connection. Is the collective size of the images too large? I have tried a few times, and each time the connection is dropped.

  14. 14
    J R in WV says:

    @Jerzy Russian:

    I try to manipulate my images to be around one meg or less. I just rescale the image to around 1200 pixels in the large dimension and adjust the Jpeg quality down until I get below a 1 Meg size.

    Most are in the 800Kb range, and seem to work fine. They look pretty good on the net to me, and I keep the original image for home display or printing.

  15. 15
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @J R in WV:

    Thanks for the tips. I was able to get almost factors of 10 in compression. Also, the reCAPTCHA thing was not working the first time through, as I never got a pop-up asking me to pick out the images of busses, etc. Everything worked the second time through.

  16. 16
    stinger says:

    Great photos and I loved learning about the sheep/weaving/rugs.

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