A former rodeo cowboy reconnects with the West by studying one of the oldest Navajo traditions.
“I always loved the West,” says Charley Castles, a PRCA bareback rider turned Native art collector and founder of Charley’s Navajo Rugs. “It held a lot of attraction for me from a young age, and I loved watching western movies. That led me to the rodeo — and I had a lot of fun doing that. It was one of the five best things I have ever done. I did not ride well enough to make a living at it, so after nine years I moved on to other things.”
What would come next for the thrill seeker? A career in accounting. It wasn't until recent years that he found himself in the rug business. After building a successful CPA firm in California, which he’s run now for more than 30 years, Castles wanted to reconnect with the Western lifestyle, and he began collecting historic Navajo rugs. At first he just bought a few to decorate his office, but soon he was hooked. Collecting became a full-fledged hobby. And as he found himself more and more intrigued by, and educated in, Navajo textile traditions, Castles felt the need to share his knowledge, and his collection, with others. So he opened up shop online.
“We cater to the true collector and Native American art aficionado,” Castles says. “But we also increasingly see customers who are just drawn in by the beauty of the rugs themselves. A beautiful Navajo rug in your home is a great conversation piece as well as a functional piece of art.”
Charley's Navajo Rugs has everything from the historic to the contemporary, the geometric to the pictorial.
TOP: Yeibichai Lukachukai (ca. 1920) ABOVE : 1. Transitional Eye Dazzler (ca. 1930) 2. Tree of Life (ca. 1990) 3. Pictorial with outstanding colors (ca. 1940) 4. Two Grey Hills Storm Pattern Variant (ca. 1920 –1930) 5. Crystal Tapestry (ca. 1981) 6. Guardian Yei Sandpainting from the Nightway Ceremony (ca. 1930 –1940)