Photography and commentary from John Fujimagari

Memory Lane – Oct 10, 2008


I’m reposting a day from my trip to Four Corners, from another blog, every Wednesday.

Day Three – Crownpoint Rug Auction

Tried to sleep in today but couldn’t. So instead, I got up at 7AM and wrote on my blog. I’ve had to do all of my writing off-line because the WiFi isn’t working at the Quality Inn here in Gallup, so this will all get posted late. We did some shopping at a local mall today, Mom bought some jeans but I didn’t find anything. After that we jumped in the car and headed up the road. The first place I planned to stop wasn’t marked and we just drove on by, the second place, Coyote Canyon, had an interesting name but not much else. There was a closed store, a few houses and the Chapter House, I just drove in and made a U-turn and left. I stopped at Standing Rock and took a few pictures. We ended up arriving in Crownpoint at about 1PM, only 3 hours too early. After touring around the town we had only 2 hours and 45 minutes left to wait. So we went to the Basha’s Grocery Store, Mom bought a greeting card and we got lunch from the Deli. After lunch we went to the post office (we already knew where it was from our tour) so Hobie could mail her card. We went to a Flea Market and talked to the people there, Sherri tried talking to the dogs, after we drove across the street to the Elementary School where the Rug Auction is held. Finding a nice shady parking spot we waited the last hour and a bit. Sherri fed a stray dog that, of course, fell in love with her. Finally at 4pm the doors opened and everyone went in. Surprisingly all of the weavers lined up and the rest of the people milled about. The big line was the registration for the weavers, and as they got registered their wares were displayed on the tables at the back of the gym. A smaller line formed at the front for bidders to sign up for numbers. As more rugs were displayed, more people crowded around the tables to examine the weavings.

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I looked for pleasing designs and colors that I liked, while others inspected every thread and got out their measuring tape and jotted down secret notes in tiny books. It was starting to get crowded around 5pm and I went to wander the hallways in search of a washroom, I found them filled with tables brimming with merchandise. Silver, copper, crystal, turquoise and beaded jewellery, pottery, carvings and Kachina dolls were all for sale.

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I got carried away in the hall even before the auction started. By 6pm you could hardly get near the tables, so we went back to the car and had a snack and I had a nap. We were in the gym and seated by 6:45, the auction started precisely at 7pm. The Crownpoint Weavers Association had 154 rugs up for bid and 104 registered bidders. The action started briskly and the auctioneers moved things through fast to get the audience going. I liked the 5th rug up on the block and I think I got a good deal on it. The highest sale price was $3700, with maybe a half dozen in the $2000 – $2500 range. The vast majority ranged from $300 to $1500, with a dozen or so going for under $100 (one was $30). It was all over by 8:50pm an hour and ten minutes early. We drove back to Gallup, picked up some fast food at Sonic and were back to the hotel around 10pm. All in all it was a good day. Off to Canyon de Chelly tomorrow.

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