"It illuminates a little known world where women made, used, and marketed their work." - Weaving History.
Multitaskers, Pima and Cherokee baskets appeared in a range of spaces. Baskets were the quiet overseers, from domestic to sacred life. A single weave for home use, a double weave for ritual – where women were seen “religiously, as makers of containers essential to life.”
Basketry became a tool not only for very tangible and practical use – but as women were the masters of the form – also a container for more intangible sensations of agency and participation; something one would want to pass down – basketry patterns are generational material.
The gesture of passing down was not only from mother to daughter, but between women and nature. In native basketry, women were mediary figures between the land, where they sourced materials – and society, where a basket ended up in use. Rivercane was a material that thrived on interaction – the burning and cutting of land essential to its growth. Harvesting older stalks for basketry made way for new plant; an efficient practice, a mother-metaphor.
The “container” is personal too – as a rule – often playing the part of protector, transporter, keeper. Weaving a basket was the end result of a woman’s own interaction with nature, an old technology with maternal logic: reinvigorating her resources, a perfect + succinct system which gave back – a loop, continually handed down and passed through.
1. Source Unknown
2. Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast
3. Pima Indian and Tulare Indian Baskets 1900
4. Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast
5. Pima Indian Basket Weaver
6. Pima Indian Baskets 1904
7. Morris Jones, Pima Indian Man + Basket with Little Girl 1900
8. Portrait of a Pima Woman with Basket
9. Indian Basket 1900
10. Natural Basketry