DISTRIBUTED IN SCANDINAVIA AND BALTIC REGION BY LEWINI AGENCY. SOLD AT SELECTED RETAIL STORES
Made in USA since 1863.
American West Robe
The American West is home to trading posts and pueblos where skilled artisans create treasures using the natural materials around them. This blanket’s geometric borders echo the patterns found in weavings and stamped silver jewellery. Colourful bands of turquoise, coral and opal are a tribute to the semi-precious stones used in many Southwestern works of art. A bleached bison skull at the center serves as a reminder of the power and endurance of this dry and beautiful landscape that blooms with creativity. Reverses for two dramatically different looks.
Painted Hills Robe
Rising from the dry plains of Eastern Oregon, bare earth undulates in folds of scarlet, ochre, and yellow. These are the Painted Hills, whose brilliant stripes inspired this design and were created by oxidized mineral deposits in layers of volcanic ash. Adventurers who want to take a road trip into the past can see the hills, visit the nearby John Day Fossil beds and explore the ghost towns of this remote part of Oregon’s landscape. Reverses for two different looks.
A tradition of American craftsmanship started by one family over 100 years ago.
In 1863 a young English weaver named Thomas Kay had a vision of raising his own sheep and producing his own wool in America. With no suitable land of his own, Kay set sail down the Atlantic seaboard and up the Pacific coast in search of the ideal location. After four-months at sea, Kay stopped in America’s newest state, Oregon. Upon settling, Kay built his own family-operated mill, teaching and eventually passing on the business to his eldest daughter Fannie.
From the creation of Pendleton’s first woolen mill in 1893, to establishing trade connections with America’s Indigenous communities, Fannie helped build upon her father’s legacy. As her father did for her, Fannie passed on the family tradition to her three sons in 1898. Less than a year later, a new wool finishing department was operational and the first finished wool products were traded, thus setting the foundation for Pendleton Woolen Mills. Today, the tradition of wool and textile innovation established by Thomas Kay and his family underlies all Pendleton products.
Indigenous Trading Blanket History
Uniquely woven into Indigenous communities, Pendleton continues to partner with, and share traditional Indigenous design and artistry with the world.
Since 1909, Pendleton has produced Indigenous blankets, robes and shawls for Indigenous tribes. Today, Pendleton is deeply connected to the Native American population.
Since the early days, care has been taken by pattern designers to learn about the traditions, mythologies and design preferences of Indigenous customers. In the earliest years, Joe Rawnsley, who was considered a gifted talent on the jacquard loom, spent time with local tribes in northeastern Oregon to understand preferences of colour and design. He would then interpret the ideas gleaned from Indigenous peoples into blanket designs using modern technologies that could express patterns in much greater detail and in more vivid colourations than could be expressed by traditional weaving methods.
Prior to the introduction of mill techniques, traditional blankets were made from hides or pelts of smaller animals which had been sewn together or woven from wool, feathers, down, bark and cotton; and, in some areas, shredded cedar bark.
Eventually the durable nature of wool blankets led to their having great value in trade – and the brighter the better. While most early trading blankets were plaids and block designs, jacquard loomed blankets with brilliant colors and sharp details became very popular within the Indigenous community and integrated into everyday and ceremonial uses.
Navajo writer and artist Rain Parrish has documented the cultural significance of these branded prized possessions in various works. “We welcome our children with a small handmade quilt or a Pendleton blanket,” writes Parrish in The Language of the Robe: American Indian Trade Blankets. “To honour [a couple’s marriage], the woman’s body is draped with a Pendleton shawl and the man’s with a Pendleton robe.”
Today, Pendleton blankets continue to play a significant role in Indigenous communities across North America.
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