When the Navajo were released from Bosque Redondo many returned to their old homes on the newly established reservations. Navajo weaving was destined to change as a result of the influence of the traders, licensed as government agents to set-up shop on the reservation, and the railroad, which would bring manufactured goods to the reservation and Navajo textiles to an Anglo market, Navajo weaving was destined to change.
While the Navajo could now purchase yard goods for their own clothes, they could also acquire new dyes and commercial yarns for weaving. This dramatically changed the look of Navajo weaving to include an expanded palette of bright colors, design innovations introduced by the traders, and an expanded design vocabulary influenced by the changing world. There was a shift from the Classic Period wearing blanket tradition to the production of rugs and later, the tapestry tradition.
One of the earliest weaving developments of this
era was the "eyedazzler" style, which heavily incorporated the use of the
serrate design so common in Hispanic textiles from the region. This combined
with the new palette produced textiles that virtually vibrated. The Durango
CollectionŽ eyedazzler shows this innovation with its use of bright commercial
yarns and strong serrate motifs.
Gradually, each area of the reservation developed a style of its own. These regional styles became the distinct expressions of families from these areas, as designs were once more passed down through family lines. For example, the Two Grey Hills area is known for it's perfect tapestries, finely hand spun and hand-woven in natural wool colors of white, brown and gray.
Some weavers do not follow traditional patterns or regional styles, but chose to create unique new works. These contemporary art weavings are highly sought, and often produced as commissioned pieces.
Navajo textiles have become icons of the Southwest. Today, Navajo textile designs are copied worldwide.