Mountain Maidu Basketry: Finishing My Burden Basket


William Harrison - Posted on 12 April 2011

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I am happy we are finally having some sunny weather. Week after week of heavy rain and/or snow in the mountains slowed my ability to spend needed time with Ennis. After learning to start a basket, I was needing to learn how to add sticks to continue weaving. Again, it seemed I would never learn this as Ennis demonstrated this over and over. Each time I was left on my own...I was left confused and frustrated. I became more frustrated as each time I tried to plan a trip to Greenville, the next storm would arrive and nothing was getting done. We finally were able to meet up for a few hours on a rainy day in Oroville. I also watched another weaver add sticks thier way which was slightly different then our technique. Finally, it made sense and I was able to add sticks being able to add about 3-4 inches to my basket. Another issue I faced was my willow was dry and even though  I soaked it well, the sticks were snapping and not easy to work with. I gave some of the willow away and set out to gather more. As time had passed for gathering willow in the valley, I travelled to the high country to gather where winter was just now retreating. I now have a nice supply of good winter willow and plan on finishing my basket this coming weekend. Ennis and I will be demonstrating basketry at the Maidu Museum spring "Yomen" celebration this Sunday April 17 in Roseville. I will post a picture of my first finished basket on my blog very soon! I hope to make one more winter basket and begin peeling my next harvest for a spring basket in the near future. Until then...Yahat Bis Pa Da...Go well until we meet again.

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