All American Indians
made baskets: Baskets were a big part of daily
life in tribes across the country. All Indians made baskets. They made
woven baskets out of the natural materials available to them. Part of
a woman's job was to never let her family run out of colorful baskets.
Once baskets were made, they were used to store belongings on the open
shelves, to haul and store food, and used for trade.
the geometric designs on Indian baskets have meanings? The
answer is yes and no. Most of the symbolism in Indian art was
realistic and not geometric - the painted art showed pictures of
people and events. The geometric designs woven in baskets were not
religious in nature. Nor did they stand for things like symbols of
good luck. Someone might be carrying a basket and trip and because of
that, avoid a snakebite. Suddenly, that basket might become a lucky
basket. But baskets were not created with designs that gave you luck.
Names: The women gave names to various patterns
so they could talk about them - the tree pattern, the leaf pattern,
the mountain pattern, and so on. Women tried to outdo their neighbors
with designs and colors. Every woman had her own designs. Others
could not copy from her, although she could give a design as a gift to
a good friend or to her children.
Materials: Secret basket making techniques were
handed down from mother to daughter. Roots and twigs had to be soaked
just right. Basket making was then, and still is, an art. Most baskets
were made in the winter months. All summer long basket-making
materials were collected. Grass was used like embroidery thread.
Certain grasses were collected because of their strength and colors.
Some women hiked into the mountains, the deserts, or the deep woods
far from their homes to collect grass to make baskets. That was a
dangerous thing to do.
Burden Baskets: Apache
baskets were colorful and well designed. They were woven from various
plants. Some were lined with pitch, which is a natural waterproofing
material made from pine trees. The waterproof baskets were used
to carry water and other liquids. Baskets were used as storage
containers for just about everything. Some were called burden baskets.
Double Wall Baskets: In olden days, only the
women made baskets. Baskets had fancy designs, and were made in a
special way, with double weaving, using river cane, so that they were
very sturdy. Designs were handed down from mother to daughter. Some
baskets were painted as well as dyed. The Cherokee created paints from
berry juice, nuts, and roots. Although their baskets added color and
gaiety to the appearance of their homes, they were also useful.
Baskets were used for just about everything - to gather the crops,
to store food, to store belongings, to haul.
Baskets: The Hopi method of making baskets has
not changed for hundreds of years. They still make baskets with the
old patterns, in the old way, woven with long grasses, and designed
with natural dyes.
Feather Baskets: While tribes in other parts of
the country used feathers to designate acts of courage, the
peace-loving Pumo Indians of California created a basket made out of
feathers that was colorful and fun.
baskets were a big part of daily life. Some Indian families had a
family design they used when weaving baskets. But mostly, women tried
to outdo each other with designs and colors. Secret basket making
techniques were handed down from mother to daughter.
Baskets were made in the winter months. To get
ready for the winter weaving, all summer long basket-making materials
were collected. Grass was used like embroidery thread. Certain grasses
were collected because of their strength and colors. Once made,
baskets were used to store belongings on open shelves, to store food,
and for trade.
look at some Strawberry & Acorn Shaped Baskets
more about Native American Baskets
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