What: Totah Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Farmington Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington
Farmington — Roy Kady was ecstatic when he learned that his rug had won the Totah Festival's poster contest.
Not only had Kady never won, but his was the first rug to ever win the contest.
"The first thing I thought of was my mom," Kady said.
Kady accepted his award at a ceremony Friday evening at the Farmington Museum.
Duane and Edwina Aspaas selected the poster winner. Duane Aspaas said they felt like it expressed the Navajo culture and the meaning of the word Totah -- three rivers meet together.
Kady's rug, entitled "Looking Toward the Carrizo" tells the story of his family and their sheep. Every winter his family takes the sheep down from the mountains to graze near the San Juan River where it is warmer. The main road to the grazing land looks toward the Carrizo mountain, where the sheep summer.
"When we see the mountain, we are reminded of the summer," Kady said.
However, the mountain means a lot more to him than just summer. Many ceremonies are performed on the peak and they gather food like choke cherries on the slopes.
"We are also looking toward the mountain because it gives us strength," Kady said.
The rug took more than 600 hours to create. He said only half of that was spent weaving.
Kady grows the fibers for some of the dyes as well as raising the sheep for the wool.
The rug depicts the changes in landscape on the way to the mountain, starting with the sandy river area and progressing to the lush slopes of the Carrizo. Each level uses a dye made from a plant found in the area, such as sage brush or the ash of a juniper.
Claudine Riddle Award: Al Bahe, painting entitled Table for Four.
Emerging Artist Award: Kyle Wheeler, three strand beads entitled For Grandma
Junior Artist Award: Nicholas Wheeler, painting entitled Wise to this Day
Best of Show: Lorraine Manvai, rug entitled Two Grey Hills Tapestry
Best of Show 2nd Place: Vange Yazzie, photograph entitled Legacy of a Matriarch
Best of Show 3rd Place: Matthew White, bracelet entitled Moving Dawn
The rug is also full of traditional Navajo symbols. At the bottom of the rug, there are "whirling logs" symbolizing the upward motion and continuance of life. Even in the clouds, Navajo symbols tell a story. Kady said one symbol in the clouds represents that the cloud is alive.
Before Kady can even start to process the yarn, he has to make sure the sheep are healthy so the wool won't be brittle.
Like his ancestors, Kady raises Navajo Churro sheep, which are the earliest domesticated sheep breed in North America, dating back to the 1500s. He described the sheep as having a wild character and being great mothers. The Navajo obtained the sheep from raiding and trading. Over time, they bred them to be a distinct breed.
"They're so enduring, just like the people that helped make (the breed) what it is," Kady said.