Eva Salazar

Kumeyaay basketry

Eva Salazar, a traditional Kumeyaay basketweaver, has been weaving coiled baskets since she was seven years old.  She grew up on the San José de la Zorra Reservation in Mexico, where her mother and aunts taught her to weave coiled baskets of willow and juncus.  When she moved to the United States she was able to gather and weave other plants that were not available in her village in Mexico.  She also visited museums to study older baskets and learn the techniques used to weave them.  Now a master weaver, she teaches her basketweaving skills to other Kumeyaay tribal members and exhibits her work in museums.

Various native plants including deer grass, juncus, sumac, yucca and willow are used in traditional Kumeyaay basketry, which includes acorn granaries, cooking baskets, plates and bowls, hats and cradleboards.  Baskets include detailed patterns, such as geometric designs and nature motifs, woven with colors and shades from black to light beige.  Some baskets are woven tightly enough to hold water while others, such as granary baskets, are bulkier and can be made more quickly.  While some baskets can be woven in a few months, others take years to complete.

In 2002, Eva was a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, with apprentice Nancy Cuero.  During their apprenticeship, Eva instructed Nancy in gathering and preparing materials for weaving, and the construction of two coiled baskets, one flat and the other a bowl.

Select Exhibits

San Diego Historical Society Museum, San Diego, California, 2004-present

Indian Exhibit, San Diego Airport, 2004 and 2005

Weaving demonstration at the First Americans Festival, the week long grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington D.C., September 2004

Legacy from Our Mothers, Barona Cultural Center, Lakeside, California, February-October 2004

Artist-in-residence, Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana, July 2003


Work included in Basketweaver’s Showcase at the California Indian Basketweavers Association (CIBA) Annual Gathering, 1995-present

Traveled with CIBA to Festival Encuentro Yoreme, Sinaloa, Mexico, 2003 and 2004

Second Place at the Heard Museum Celebration of Basketweaving, Phoeniz, Arizona, 2003

First place prize at the University of San Diego Indian Marketplace, San Diego, California, 2003

ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, Master Artist, 2002

First Place at the Sycuan Juried Art Show, El Cajon, California, 2001

Teaching Experience

One- and two-day classes in basketry and doll making at various tribal museums, parks, museums and schools, 1998-present

Instruction at D-Q University, Sycuan and Campo Viejas Indian Reservation satellite campuses, San Diego County, California, 2001-2004

Basket Classes at Viejas Senior Program, San Diego County, California, 2000-2001

California Arts Council Arts-in-Residence Program, 1999 and 2000

Professional Services

Creates commissioned art work
Educational presentations to schools or community organizations
Offers works for sale
Plans arts events
Cultural consultancies


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