When planning the opening for the Hubbell-Joe Rug exhibit, we all agreed the descendants of weaver Julia Joe should have a private gathering before we opened to the public. We wanted them to spend time with this extraordinary textile created more than ninety years ago by “the grandmothers.” Julia Joe—the master weaver who wove the Hubbell-Joe Rug along with the Greasewood community and the Kin ł ichii’nii clan—had eight children: Herbert, Daniel, Lillie, Erma (Emma), Helen, Nancy, Mary, and Kee John.
Saturday, August 19th, a variety of family lines came to Affeldt Mion Museum for the private viewing, ranging in age from tiny babies to Emma Joe Lee’s son Ernest (seen on the right), who was born the same year as the rug: 1932.
Hubbell-Joe Rug Historic Images
In the entry lobby, family watched a slide show filled with historic images that will soon grace the walls of the exhibit. The photos of Julia Joe and her family in Greasewood show them handing over the finished rug, a project that took five years to complete. Images include rolling up the rug and loading it into a truck bound for Lorenzo Hubbell Jr’s Winslow Trading Post.
Sammy Lee, wearing the cowboy hat in the image above, saw himself as a baby in some of the photos. In the photo below, he’s the little one in white in the doorway of the house, with Grandmother Julia and his aunt Lillie to the right.
Some knelt before the rug to do personal blessings, like Janice Mitchell, granddaughter to Emma Joe Lee, and daughter to Ernest Lee, who laid hands on the wool her great-grandmother Julia’s hands once wove, the wool her great-grandfather sheared, the wool her grandmother Emma helped card—and in that gesture, felt the love and connection to her family’s past. Janice said análí’s spirit radiated through the rug and truly believes Julia Joe was in the room with them.
While the images and interpretive panels aren’t yet up, the family appreciated seeing the rug so cared for. They liked knowing the masterwork has a permanent place to rest, thanks to the display envisioned by Allan Affeldt and built by artist John Suttman.
In the words of Julia Joe’s grandson Sammy Lee:
“I’m thankful for the Winslow community to bring this history back over here. It’s going to be there a long time. You took care of it. I remember when you brought it back from Phoenix. Seems like it’s been cleaned up. You’ve done a good job. It’s laying on a real nice floor. Comfortable. It’s laying there resting. Let it rest on a nice comfortable form.”Sammy Lee – Julia Joe Grandson, son to Emma Joe
We are so grateful to the family for telling their stories in person and in front of the camera. We look forward to gathering more. The recorded interviews will be coalesced into a documentary that we will share with the world so that generations to come can understand and appreciate what the community of Greasewood contributed to Winslow, Arizona and beyond. It was our honor to meet you all today.
The 2012 Family Blessing
This wasn’t the first time family had a private gathering. In 2012, when Allan and Tina returned the rug to Winslow, they invited family to see the textile as well. Emma Joe, who helped card the wool eighty years before, got to walk the rug one last time. You can see the event in this video by David Herzberg, by clicking this LINK.
Exhibit Grand Opening!
The public opening of the exhibit is just two weeks away on September 2nd, from 9 am – 5 pm. There will be a short program at 1 pm. We look forward to seeing you there!
If you’d like to share the press release and spread the word, click this LINK!