The language of native American baskets
December 13, 2003 7:55 AM   Subscribe

The language of native American baskets - simply gorgeous display of native basketry with commentary from five weavers who keep classic traditions alive. It includes contemporary and antique basketry ranging from burden baskets, jars, and ollas to fancy baskets and hats. This is exhibit is currently on view at the National Museum of the American Indian.
posted by madamjujujive (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
nice! people may also want to check out Joe Feddersen, who works with basket forms and methods (sort of).
posted by amberglow at 8:47 AM on December 13, 2003

I am reminded of a Yup'ik (SW Alaska) basket weaver who was disturbed at seeing a museum collection of baskets. She just couldn't be happy seeing all those baskets with nothing IN them.

Beauty is more than skin deep.
posted by wiinga at 9:24 AM on December 13, 2003

Other impressive baskets at the Lost City Museum, although they don't have much in the way of artifacts on their official site. In fact, the only pictures of their Native American baskets I could find was in the background of a picture of the interior of the museum.

If you happen to visit Las Vegas and want to get out of the city for the day (and maybe you've already seen Red Rocks and Hoover Dam), this is a nice trip, particularly combined with a hike through the Valley of Fire. Bring water, it's a desert out there!
posted by ilsa at 9:42 AM on December 13, 2003

Until the day I'm driven to my casket,
I'll always appreciate seeing a nice basket.
posted by troybob at 11:10 AM on December 13, 2003

So wonderful. Another great, great online exhibit is Entwined with Life: Native American Basketry from the Burke Collection in Seattle, which has over 5,000 baskets. This site is chock full of baskety goodness, and you can get a little lost, but if you have the time for a thorough perusal I recommend just going straight through the entire thing by using the "next" link at the bottom of each page. This will take you through all the nooks and crannies, except for the Basket I.D. Game, which teaches you a few little things about identifying baskets.

If anyone is on a basket binge, you can also check out the Twin Falls Basket Museum for lots more baskets.
posted by taz at 12:03 AM on December 14, 2003

[this is good]. Both original post and links in the thread.
posted by plep at 1:03 AM on December 14, 2003

Wow. Those coiled bowls are amazing. Thanks, mjj.
posted by yoga at 4:35 AM on December 14, 2003

I agree with plep, what fabulous links! Thanks amberglow, ilsa and taz for taking the time to post these. That's what I love about MeFi! That Lost City is so going on my travel wishlist, ilsa - very interesting stuff that I hadn't heard of - thanks.

amberglow, I love that link! And as you are no doubt aware, it links to another cool exhibit of contemporary native artists from the museum - can't wait to see as they keep adding to the exhibits.

And taz, leave it to you - not only are those both superlative links for basketry, but the Burke Collection has a plethora of other neat things too. Cool!

I love the coiled bowls too, yoga. I have long been a fan of the inuit coiled baskets which are beautifully simple and amazingly watertight. They are a bit pricey so I don't yet own one.

Nice poem troybob...and wiinga, that story is lovely and true....baskets should be used.

I also liked this quote from the original link:
“Yes, we have always been contemporary. There will be more basket-makers after us, and they will be contemporary, too.” —Theresa Hoffman, Penobscot
posted by madamjujujive at 7:18 AM on December 14, 2003

Actually, vis-a-vis wiinga's comment, the only basket that struck me as just wrong on all these page of gorgeous craftsmanship was this one. With its small head and open side sections, I just couldn't figure out what it would be good for. It looks great, but the fantastic thing about these works are that they are both artistic and utilitarian. Removing the usability aspect, for me, somehow greatly diminishes the beauty and wonder.
posted by taz at 7:45 AM on December 14, 2003

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