The Curator’s Eye Features Susan DeJong of Southwest Accents The Curator’s Eye (www.curatorseye.com) recently spoke with Susan DeJong of Southwest Accents about her passion for Navajo textiles, her experience as a dealer, and how she incorporates a growing inte
News-Antique.com - Oct 09,2014 - Santa Fe, NM - The Curator’s Eye (www.curatorseye.com) recently spoke with Susan DeJong of Southwest Accents about her passion for Navajo textiles, her experience as a dealer, and how she incorporates a growing internet strategy into her business.
As a professional flutist, De Jong’s initial exposure to Navajo textiles began when she performed for two summers with the Santa Fe Opera. Her enthusiasm for the material led to annual trips to the Navajo Reservation where she often found stellar weavings in out of the way trading posts. As her collection grew, she realized her fascination for Navajo textiles was wide-ranging, and she loved the weavers’ innovative and artistic responses to the cultural changes in history. In 1993 she was asked to mount a show of her renowned and varied collection which contained textiles from 1875 to the present. Her exhibition titled “A Century of Navajo Weaving” traveled to several museums and showcased a progression of weaving styles spanning a hundred years.
For over three centuries, Navajo weaving has been esteemed for its beauty and technical excellence. Various historic influences converged which allowed their weaving skills to flourish. The introduction of Churro sheep by the Spanish provided the raw material while they learned the art of weaving from the Pueblo Indians and adopted their simple, portable, vertical loom. Their initial textiles were woven as items of clothing. The beauty of these blankets was so admired by other tribes that they traded for these “Chief Blankets” which reflected great prestige on the owner. Over the course of history the Navajos have continually integrated cultural changes and exposure to evolving every day life into their weavings. They have incorporated new yarns, new dyes, new design elements, and new market demands that result in a continually evolving art form of the highest order. Today Navajo weaving is still a vibrant, artistic expression of their culture.
The De Jong Collection encompasses textiles of diverse styles from all periods of Navajo weaving including Classic Blankets, Transitionals, Rugs, Pictorials, Saddle Blankets, and Tapestries. Her extensive collection always emphasizes exceptional beauty and unusual artistry combined with technical excellence.
After recently redesigning her own website, De Jong is expanding her online presence. To do so, she has utilized the marketing strength of The Curator’s Eye. She feels she “would never get worldwide exposure in any other venue” and loves “seeing that people from such diverse places as Romania, India, and New Zealand are looking at my offerings.”
De Jong elaborates, “I love the detail in the database that The Curator’s Eye provides so I can tell what types of my material interests clients the most. It is also very valuable to find out where clients’ main interests are. It gives a good window on my specific market,” and this allows De Jong to make data-driven decisions as a small business owner. Additionally, De Jong reports that “the technology used by The Curator’s Eye is very user friendly and provides me with an exceptional database.” Overall, she finds “the information