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Elsie Benale
Elsie Benale

Yá’át’ééh. I was born to the Táchii'nii (Red Streak Running Into the Water) clan. My name is Elsie Benale and I live near Big Mountain on the Navajo Reservation.

My mother, Mary Lou Benale, was of the Táchii'nii (Red Streak Running Into the Water) clan and my father, Kee Benale, was of the Tó'áhani (Near the Water) clan. I was taught to prepare the loom and weave rugs by my mother. I use many types of yarn in my weaving including sheep, goat, and mohair. I use both store-bought yarn and prepare my own wool, which I clean, card, spin, blend, and dye. My mother taught me so many things in life.

It takes me approximately one month to prepare my own wool. I gather wild carrots, sage, roots, Juniper, seeds, bark, snake brush, wild oak leaves, cactus berries and flowers, flowers of all sorts, Navajo tea and Mormon tea. I gather these plants in the spring when they are still fresh, in the summer when they are ripe and in the fall during harvest. My favorite colors are pastels, red, grey, white, and other natural colors.

I have been weaving for over 45 years and I am so grateful for your support.