The Beginning of Basketmaking


To create a basket, you’ll need several materials, including cane, rattan, and grasses. Many materials are available in nature, including cedar bark, spruce root, cattail leaves, maidenhair fern stems, and horsetail root. A knife is used to separate the cane’s outer surface from the stalk. This outer surface is used to make splints. The outer surface is scraped so that it is smooth and flat, and the shiny side of the stalk is left intact.

The first time Native Americans were exposed to the process of basketmaking, they were not at all open to discussion about their tribal identity. This all changed when they began to create their own baskets. Today, Native Americans work with the process with pride and joy. NEA staff can answer any questions you may have, including how to make your own. This process is also a great way to engage in cultural exchange with others. In addition, working with baskets has helped create an awareness of the role of Native Americans in the world.

To create a basket, begin by preparing the cane. Cut the foliage at the end of each cane, and split the cane lengthwise into four sections. Make sure that each section is uniform in length. Then, use a wire or scissors to cut the weaver. Leave one side of the cane natural or paint it if you desire. The resulting basket will look better than before. When you’re finished, hang your new basket in the shed for drying.

The creation myths often place basketry among the first arts given to humans. In ancient Mesopotamia, the god Marduk placed a wicker hurdle on the surface of the water and created the earth. The creation myths in many cultures place basketry among the first arts given to humankind. One creation myth tells how the Dogon, in West Africa, received a square-bottomed basket with a round mouth. The first ancestor then used it to erect the first world system, which had a circular base representing the sun and a square terrace representing the sky.

Goshorn’s work is an attempt to untangle the Native American identity from the stereotypes associated with the American Indian. Goshorn’s work also helps people to reflect on the treatment of indigenous peoples throughout history. During his time with the Indian Arts and Craft Board, he began making baskets as an experiment. She calls the process “crazy,” but she says that she uses the art to help others. So, if you’re curious about the history of basketmaking, read the American Indian Basketry magazine.

Weavers in the Wasco/Wishxam region used a technique called sally bag weaving. The weft, or the material used in the craft, crosses over the warp one at a time. This result is a decorative pattern known as twilling. It can also be done in diagonal weave. Many twined baskets begin with a plaited bottom. Once the warp and weft are separated, they may become the sides of the basket.

The materials used to create a basket vary depending on its function and the maker’s taste. Heavy baskets are made of stiff material like spruce root, while flexible and thin materials like reed, bamboo, and jute are used for baskets for sale. There are many variations on the same technique, and the method can be adapted to suit individual tastes and preferences. When starting out, you can use whatever materials you have available.

UNE’s Maine Women Writers Collection sponsored an event for the public. The event, titled “Wabanaki Basketmaking Traditions Under Threat” explored the history of basketry in the Wabanaki tribe, which includes the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki. This lecture highlighted the importance of basketry among the Wabanaki, and discussed the recent threat from emerald ash borer to the traditions of the Wabanaki.

While this method is generally used for twined basketry, it can also be applied to untwined baskets. The foundation of a basket is made of a single element, called the standard. This element is wound in a continuous spiral around itself. Threads are used to hold the coils in place, and work is done stitch by stitch. Decorative materials are stitched into the outer surface of the basket, and sometimes added to the finished piece after it is made.

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