The uses for a handwoven basket are endless; they have stored food, sifted corn, borne water and much more. Baskets have been made by hand for thousands of years, using local materials and techniques that have been passed down from one generation to the next. This has led different tribes to develop very different techniques, all of which create sturdy and beautiful pieces of history.
One of the most well-known styles of basket-making is that of the Hopi Burden Basket. Often woven from sumac, these baskets are worn on the back hung from a strap across the forehead. When a woman returns home after gathering fruit and berries, her basket is hung outside the door for guests and family members to symbolically place their burdens before they go inside.
Dorleen Gashweseoma is an artist well-known for making these.
Developed from tree resin, pitch is heated and baskets are dipped in it. This gives them a thick, shiny coating that makes them more durable and waterproof. Dipping baskets in pitch is a technique developed and used only by the Navajo people, and it strengthens their baskets for the carrying of heavy materials and water.
Often made with a centerpiece, Chippewa baskets are woven flat and wide. Buffalo turquoise, desert rose rocks and antler are all used as centerpieces, and the design surrounding them usually accents the stone with a similar color and a detailed pattern. Sweetgrass is wrapped with colorful polyester thread to achieve this look.
Some of the baskets available at Kachina House are designed by Chippewa artist White Fox.
Typically formed using an open coil method of weaving, Papago or Tohono O’odham baskets are made from grasses and yucca plants. When a basket is made, bundles of grass are stacked on top of one another in coils and yucca plant is used to weave them together in place.
Nowadays, Native American baskets are most frequently kept as display pieces, but they are still created from natural materials with detailed craftsmanship and intricate design-work in mind. Kachina House offers a variety of baskets, made by Hopi, Navajo, Chippewa and Papago artists. Shop our selection online or give our Sedona, Arizona shop a call at 866-587-0547 to learn more about our baskets.