Diné Weaver, Janelle Stanley, Shows the Versatility of Her Craft

Phoenix Aviation Department at the Sky Harbor International Airport - Haak'u/Acoma Connection

Stanley’s work at Phoenix Aviation Department at the Sky Harbor International Airport – Haak’u/Acoma Connection

CHICAGO — The Chicago Public School’s Title VII’s American Indian Speakers Bureau is proud to present a special lecture and weaving workshop with Janelle L. Stanley, Diné/Acoma, this Friday, March 20th at the St. Kateri Center.

Artist Janelle Stanely

Artist Janelle Stanely

For the past several years, American Indian professionals from all over the country have come to Chicago to speak to youth, families, and community members to share and inspire success stories. The guest speakers often will lecture or host artistic workshops or both that are culturally relevant and encourage self-expression.

Janelle L. Stanley is a weaver who integrates cultural designs and teachings into her textile artwork using contemporary techniques such as floor loom weaving and screen-printing. She received her BFA from Arizona State University and continues to develop her skills using different mediums.

This past December, Stanley celebrated her design work at the grand opening of the Phoenix Sky Harbor Terminal 3 Train Station. The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program commissioned her to create two floors patterns that incorporate weaving and textile elements.

Since 1986, this public arts program has created over 180 projects in public buildings and spaces and prides itself for collaborating with local artists and design professionals to capture the cultural vibrancy of Phoenix.

Apart of a larger project with the Phoenix Aviation Department at the Sky Harbor International Airport, Stanley designed floor patterns honoring both her tribal heritages. The station platform, “Haak’u/Acoman Connection”, is a 315’ x 30’ terrazzo floor that highlights a family brooch within the pattern while the connecting bridge, “Diné/Navajo Connection”, is a 200’ x 33.5’ terrazzo floor that showcases weaving components. The project took over six years to complete with a team of nearly 30 workers and is now accessible to 40 million travelers a year.

Stanley's work at Phoenix Aviation Department at the Sky Harbor International Airport - “Diné/Navajo Connection”

Stanley’s work at Phoenix Aviation Department at the Sky Harbor International Airport – “Diné/Navajo Connection”

In a brief interview with Native News Online, Stanley discussed her crafting experiences:

How long have you been weaving/exploring art with various textiles?

I reconnected to Diné weaving after my BFA in Fibers, I had learned numerous textile techniques from my time at Arizona State University, but I wanted to deepen my knowledge of my own amazing textile culture from my Diné family members. My Aunt Ruby travelled from the Diné reservation and stayed with me in Phoenix, Arizona and I had one-on-one weaving lessons.

I grew up on the Diné reservation and was surrounding by a supportive extended family who raised sheep. I herd sheep, observed the sheep being shear-cleaned and assisted my maternal grandmother with her weaving, by carding the wool or just sitting near her and listening to the rhythmic tap tap of the loom beater.

What inspires your work?

I am innately connected to my Diné family, land and language. This is my motivation.

Do you have any advice to give to young artists?

I say create artwork that is authentic to you and never under sell your artwork. Research and submit to “call to artist” applications that are outside your comfort zone, Native people are under represented in museums, galleries and art shows.

Currently, Stanley is the curator at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, Illinois and has been promoting the new Native Haute Couture exhibition. To complement the exhibition, she will be giving a fashion lecture to share an in-depth history of Diné women’s traditional fashion on Thursday, March 19th.

For more details, visit the Chicago T7 Blog!

 

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