Skateboarder Naiomi Glasses is a seventh-generation Diné weaver: 'It gives me so much hope'

Naiomi Glasses is revitalizing her Diné heritage with traditional weaving.

The textile artist weaves mags, saddle blankets and rugs. Her designs have been featured by brands like Manitobah and REI. Glasses is a seventh-generation weaver through her paternal lineage.

She became a student of weaving at around 12 years old. When her family moved back to the Navajo Nation, her paternal grandmother taught her and her older brother, Tyler, the craft.

Instead of step-by-step lessons, her grandmother allowed them to watch and imitate her movements.

“At about 16, after watching enough, my brother was already weaving at that point; he would ask me if I wanted to weave the areas of no design that were just straight through. I would help him with those parts,” Glasses told In The Know.

She would even help her grandmother with the toughest part to learn, closing up her weavings. It was also at 16 that Tyler set up a loom for her, and she was able to weave her first rug.

“I think the part about it that’s most impactful is knowing that it’s lasted for seven generations,” she explained. “When you sit and think about how each mother passed it down to her daughter.”

Glasses’ paternal grandmother taught all her children how to weave, and now even her younger cousins are learning the skill.

“It gives me so much hope that it’ll last for many more generations after us. So that’s what I look forward to,” she said.

Naomi and Tyler are inspired by classic regional Navajo designs. But skateboarding also plays an important role in her weaving designs.

She started to skateboard at 5 years old. It was an escape from bullies who mocked her bilateral cleft palette. When she’s out riding, she finds inspiration in her surroundings.

“Sometimes I’ll be out skateboarding or even riding my horse, and I’ll see how the sky looks, or I’ll see how a certain plant looks against a different background,” she said.

Glasses is a part of a wave of young indigenous people revitalizing their traditions and languages.

“It’s been amazing, so for myself as a Diné weaver, I’ve been noticing more younger people picking up weaving,” she said. “Then, for other indigenous tribes, I’ve seen people of those respective tribes pick up their traditional crafts.”

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