Competition Judges

Carole MorainCarole Morain has been knitting since she was six years old and became a serious knitter during her thirties. For the last 26 years she has been a superintendent at the La Plata County Fair in both Needlework and Handspun departments. For the last 15 years she has judged sewing, weaving, knitting, crochet, and embroidery at the Archuleta County Fair and has judged for both Farmington and Cortez several times. Her memberships include 4 Corners Knitting Guild, Wild Wooly Spinners of the West and the Durango Rovers. She also works as a mentor with a small group of knitters at Yarn Durango.

Lois Burbach's Alpacas SchoolLois Burbach of Ignacio, CO, is a highly-regarded fiber artist in the Four Corners area of Colorado. Her background in Home Economics (University of Northern Colorado), sewing and knitting paved the way for her to excel in the fiber arts when she and her husband, Jim, started their alpaca ranch, Navajo Lake Alpacas, in 2002. Lois is best known for her felting, which is a natural outlet for her artistic talents and award-winning skills. She has taught hat felting at the Pagosa Fiber Festival, the Wool Festival of the Southwest, for the Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies, and at various alpaca ranches and yarn shops across Colorado.

Lois’ contact information is:
- E-mail:
- Web site:

Nancy WilsonNancy Wilson received her judging certification from Southwest Regional Spinners in July 2011. Certification requires candidates take a three day workshop on yarn judging, clerk with a certified judge, and judge skeins under observation by other certified yarn judges. She continues to enter skeins for judging, most recently winning a red ribbon at the 2011 Taos Wool Festival. Three skeins that she entered at the 2011 Southwest Regional Spinners retreat all received blue ribbons, and she has also received blue ribbons at the Pagosa Fiber Festival. Nancy has completed the Level I classroom portion of the Olds College Master Spinner Program and plans to continue with the program to achieve her Master Spinner certification. Nancy’s e-mail address is

Ric Rao in his Madder GardenRic Rao has been involved in fiber arts for more than 35 years. He is a certified Yarn and Fleece Judge and has judged yarns and fleeces at many local shows and fairs. Ric started raising sheep and then learning to spin in New Jersey in 1975. In 1978 he moved his flock of sheep & dairy goats to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas. He then learned about natural dyes and in the early 1980s he learned how to weave. His career as a basket maker began in 2001 at his first Southwest Regional Spinners retreat and since then he has made many styles of baskets, using a variety of materials, but primarily Pine Needles. He has even combined basketry with another talent, gourd art. He started his dye garden in 2000 and it was showcased on the PBS Series, “Southwest Yard & Garden”, under the subheading, “Innovative Gardeners” in the fall of 2002. Since then his dye garden has expanded as he experiments with natural dyes. He’s given talks about his dye garden to the Herb Society of America in Santa Fe, NM April 2010 and Earth’s Palette Sept. 2010 and Oct 2011 in Taos, NM.

Roy KadyRoy Kady. If there is a “man for all seasons” among contemporary Diné (Navajo), Roy Kady might be that man. Kady is a well-established sheep herder and a male weaver residing in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, and a sort of Mecca for sheep herders and Diné weavers. Roy was born at Shiprock Hospital, NM and raised in the small sheep-herding town of Goat Springs, AZ.

His mother, Mary K. Clah, is a Master Agro-Pastoralist and Weaver and the main teacher of Diné culture to her children. At her side, six children were taught cooking, collecting herbs for healing, vegetable dyeing, and beading as they watched her weave. The children also herded sheep with their mother and taught them about the values of life and its giver, to forever cherish it, to keep it close to their hearts and to pass on the valuable teachings to the next generation.

Serious sheep herding and weaving reappeared for Roy in 1985. Traditional designs are important to him, and he considers each rug a story and expression of feeling and inspirations. Time spent after his sheep and at the loom is spiritual for Roy, who weaves only when he feels inspired the rest of the time he is herding his sheep. He wants his rugs “to teach the beauty of the universe and the cosmos.” and also to enrich the next generation about the importance of sheep herding, weaving and traditional/cultural preservation. Roy also says “In the Diné tradition we treat the land and its creatures with the upmost respect. Because we all need to eat and when we take from the land we do so in a responsible sustainable way that has been passed down from generation to generation by our elders and told to us in our creation stories.”

Roy is “Diné first” but able to comfortably combine both cultures. He continues building his flock of the cherished sacred Navajo-Churro sheep and is an avid environmentalist as the scared songs of creation depicts. “Pastures must be rotated, we must return to our agro-pastoral ways,” he stresses. Some years ago, his elders declared him a Master Weaver and a Leader with a Blessing Way ceremony for beauty, balance and harmony. Roy feels he has a gift for teaching and loves a classroom of young people or elders. He is comfortable in front of large crowds or in the solitude of herding sheep. He wants his Diné people to return to their trusted traditional ways and to know the creation stories and sing the scared songs again. “The world seems far less threatening when you know who you are,” he says. Roy’s outlook is broad and contemporary, the old and new woven into the fabric of his 42 years and going. “The Navajo rug is no longer just a blanket for wearing or a cover for the floor. It is now an art form to grace your wall,” Roy says proudly. Each rug he sells represents a piece of his soul. “I hope my buyers will feel the essence of happiness when they see my sheep and weavings.”

Roy’s contact information is:
- Phone: 928-656-3498
- E-mail:
- Website:



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