For many Native Californians, the basketweaving process is a way of life that helps maintain connections with fellow tribal members, family members, ancestors, and the land. Basketweaving is an important way to keep their culture alive as weavers gather and process materials, and share their skills and baskets with others.
As a child, master basketweaver Kathy Wallace gathered basketry materials with her grandmother and later learned weaving techniques from more experienced weavers in her tribe. She has dedicated her adult life to preserving, promoting, and perpetuating the basketry traditions of the Karuk by teaching and weaving baskets and ceremonial objects to be used by family, friends, and tribal members.
In 2003, Kathy was a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program with apprentice Dixie Rogers, a distant cousin. Dixie had to wait until adulthood to follow her dream of learning to weave baskets. During their apprenticeship, Dixie made a traditional cooking basket from hazel sticks and Sitka spruce root with a bear grass overlay design.