Q: Can you tell me where there are auctions for Navajo rugs in the Southwest?
A: Navajo rugs, with their soft colors and geometric forms, are auctioned monthly by the Crownpoint Rug Weavers Association in the gym of the Crownpoint Elementary School in Crownpoint, 138 miles west of Albuquerque, N.M. The remaining dates this year are July 24, Aug. 28, Sept. 25, Oct. 23, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. The 1993 dates will be set in the fall.
Viewing of the rugs is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and bidding starts at 7 p.m. Indian jewelry, pottery, paintings and other works are on sale in the school hallways. A dinner of Navajo fry bread and chili is sold there for $3.50. There are usually around 400 rugs auctioned, with the least expensive, 12 by 8 inches, selling for $35, and the highest, 8 or 9 by 10 feet, at $1,800 or more. Most rugs are 4 1/2 by 5 or 6 feet, and prices average $150 to $500. More information: Crownpoint Rug Weavers Association, P.O. Box 1630, Crownpoint, N.M. 87313, (505) 786-5302.
Doug Allard, who sells Indian artworks in Montana, holds two big auctions of Southwest Indian items each year in Phoenix. Both, at Holiday Inn Airport East, 4300 E. Washington, include about 1,500 items, of which about 200 are rugs. The next is Nov. 6 to 8. There is a preview starting at noon Nov. 6, with bidding starting at 7 p.m. and sessions Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Nov. 8 at noon. Admission for two people, $5, includes a catalog. The next auction is March 26 to 28, with the rugs generally of higher quality than the November auction. Admission for two is $25. For information on both auctions: Allard Indian Auctions, P.O. Box 460, Flathead Indian Reservation, St. Ignatius, Mont. 59865, (406) 745-2951. Mr. Allard says that the price of a rug depends on age, quality and rarity, with most of his good floor rugs, generally about 4 by 6 feet, from the 1930s to '40s selling from $500 to $2,500.
There are several auctions in Santa Fe, N.M., during the week approaching Indian Market weekend, Aug. 22 and 23 this year, in which Indian crafts and art are sold from booths. One, run as a benefit for the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, (505) 982-4636, takes place Aug. 21 with a preview 10 a.m. to noon and the auction from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. More than 100 items will be for sale.
On Aug. 15 and 16 in Santa Fe, W.E. Channing & Co. holds auctions of old and new Indian art at the El Dorado Hotel, 309 W. San Francisco St. Previews start at 9 a.m., and bidding begins about 11 a.m. Of the 850 lots, there will be about 200 rugs, most of which will be sold Aug. 15. Information: Channing, Dale Gallery, (505) 984-2133. No admission fee.
Q: Sept. 13 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Michel de Montaigne. Are there any events scheduled in France to mark this day?
A: There will be a celebration in honor of Montaigne on July 13, in the village of St.-Michel-de-Montaigne, where the essayist was born in 1533 and died Sept. 13, 1592. Among events in the village, about 35 miles east of Bordeaux, will be a concert of 16th century music at the village chapel, rides in a hot-air balloon, games and films on Montaigne at the Town Hall and in the tower at Chateau de Montaigne, where he wrote many of his essays. In the evening, a dinner will be served on the chateau grounds (about $19 a person, $5.60 for children), then a concert held in the chateau's courtyard. At midnight the festivities will end with the traditional Bastille Day fireworks. Information: Mairie (Town Hall), St.-Michel-de-Montaigne, telephone 18.104.22.168.
Q: We are planning a trip to Ireland and would appreciate information about a heritage center in County Donegal devoted to the life of St. Columba, the monk credited with producing the Book of Kells.
A:The center in County Donegal you refer to is called the St. Colmcille Heritage Center. Colmcille (also rendered Comcille or Columbcille) is the saint's Irish name.
The center is on Route 250 in Churchill, 13 miles northwest of Letterkenny, County Donegal. It is open May 12 to Sept. 29 and Easter Week, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (opens 1 p.m. on Sunday). Admission is $1.75; 88 cents for children. Information: (074) 21160.