Thursday, May 26, 2011
Baskets have amazing functional qualities. At one time I collected them and hung them all over my kitchen. I've kept some useable baskets that I cherish, but for the most part they were decorative. American Indians made them strong and serviceable. And, while they were at it, they decorated them.
Walnut shell dice filled with pitch and abalone shell were tossed on the game tray above. The game depended on whether the shell landed with rounded side up or down.
Large burden baskets were capable of carrying heavy loads like firewood, pine cones or corn cobs.
A hat to keep the sun out of your eyes is simply an upside down basket.
If the weave was tight enough, the basket could hold water. It swelled and kept the water in and the owner cool on a hot day. Woven mats kept your seat on a stone softer; kept your food from touching the blanket used for a "table" cloth.
And the baby carrier had a built-in cap to keep the sun off the baby's head and out of its eyes. Basket weaving was a woman's job for the most part. I'm in awe of how clever these resourceful people were. If you'd like to see the other pictures I took of the basket collection at Maryhill, click the link below: