Monday, August 15, 2005

Examples of Basketry that can be Indian products

Basketry and related weavings made by an Indian using a wide variety of media, including, but not limited to, birchbark, black ash, brown ash, red cedar, yellow cedar, alder, vine maple, willow, palmetto, honeysuckle, river cane, oak, buck brush, sumac, dogwood, cattail, reed, raffia, horsehair, pine needle, spruce root, rye grass, sweet grass, yucca, bear grass, beach grass, rabbit brush, fiber, maidenhair fern, wale baleen, seal gut, feathers, shell, devil's claw, and porcupine quill, are Indian products.

Examples include but are not limited to: double woven river cane baskets, yucca winnowing trays, willow burden baskets, honeysuckle sewing baskets, black ash picnic baskets, cedar capes and dresses, pine needle/raffia effigy baskets, oak splint and braided sweet grass fancy baskets, birchbark containers, baleen baskets, rye grass dance fans, brown ash strawberry baskets, sumac wedding baskets, cedar hats, fiber basket hats, yucca wicker basketry plaques, and spruce root tobacco pouches.

This is a very small sampling of Indian made products - traditional to the Cherokees and other Southeastern Tribes are the double woven river cane baskets, but they can also be single walled and either diagonal or twill weaves. Traditional to the Oklahoma Cherokees are the double walled wicker baskets, made of a variety of materials including honeysuckle, willow and buck brush, because river cane was not as readily available in Oklahoma as in the Southeastern part of the United States.

The uniqueness of the Indian basket is also the gathering and processing of the material from which the basket is made. For this reason when a native material was not available an Indian weaver would adapt an available native material in their area. The Cherokee double woven basket today is also made from commercial chair cane or commercial reed. The traditional baskets also contained native or natural dyes usually made from the roots of plants such as the blood root for the Cherokee orange/red color or walnut bark or hull for the dark brown color. Today there are many commercial dyes that can be used to obtain the effect of these colors.

Contemporary basket weavers will also use a variety of non-traditional material and colors for their baskets, in some cases creating their own personal style of weaving.

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