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The woman of many suitors had greater opportunities of choice. Putnam, Indian Woman with Basket, ca. Basket-making is a multi-step process.

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First, one must harvest the materials. This requires a deep knowledge of where to find just the right resources, and to know when each element is ripe for the gathering. One must also have experience with the methods of growing and harvesting these resources, and have the tools used in gathering. These women knew which part of the plants provided the toughest and most pliable roots, where to find the best source of this root, which plants yielded the colors desired, etc.

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Likewise, the Indian women were well-practiced in the preparation of natural dyes. Next, once the materials have been carefully selected and gathered, one must prepare them for weaving. This could include peeling, splitting, making splints, yarning or twisting, twinning, braiding, soaking, gauging, and coloring. Colors were significant and often symbolic.

Practical Basketry

For example, red was a sacred color to many American Indians, and generally symbolizes life. Finally, with the materials gathered and prepped, production can begin. As with most Native American art, there were originally multiple distinct basketry traditions in North America.

Different tribes used different materials, weaving techniques, basket shapes, and patterns, dependent on their region and what materials were available to them in that environment. Northeast Indian baskets, for example, are traditionally made out of braided sweet grass or pounded ash splints. Similarly, different tribes and different baskets had various uses, whether for medicinal rituals, sacred meals, or wedding ceremonies.

Above all, fine basketry preserved the traditions and ideals of the American Indian. The E-mail message field is required.

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Practical Basketry Techniques - The Basket Maker's Catalog

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Learning Basketry