Men are sometimes taught to weave when there are no women to pass the tradition to within families. Taught by his maternal grandmother at the age of ten or eleven, Gilbert Begay is the only weaver among the grandchildren on his mother's side. He began by weaving Gallup throws much like hers, and later tried other family patterns, new weaving styles , and making garments.
As he progressed, he drew weaving designs on paper but found he could not replicate them on the loom. Now he weaves free-form, the way most Navajo weavers create patterned textiles. His grandmother continues to encourage him by saying, "What kind of head do you have, to weave that desin? I couldn't do that--you need to keep weaving."
Although he works at a gas station and as a bookkeeper, Gilbert finds time to weave and to sell his work at the Crownpoint Rug auction and through the Eastern Navajo Weaver's Association.