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(University of Washington - cedar root basket)

(University of Washington – cedar root basket)

To make your own basket at home, you can buy already prepared reeds at any craft store, or pick long, flexible branches from willow trees, or use strips of construction paper or newspaper about 1/2 inch wide. Or experiment with any weeds! Whatever you choose, unless it’s paper, put the materials in a bucket of water for an hour before you begin your basket.

Take out four reeds and lay them parallel to each other in front of you on a table or on the ground. Take four more, and weave them over and under the first four perpendicularly, to make a small mat with long reeds sticking out of it. Try to squeeze the mat pretty tight.

Weaving a basket

Cherokee basket from the 1700s AD

Cherokee basket from the 1700s AD

Take another reed and tuck the end into your mat. Weave this one in a circle around all of the sticks. When you use up all of your reed, tuck the end in and take another reed. Keep going until the bottom of your basket is as big as you want it, then begin pulling your reed a little tighter so the sides bend up to make the walls of your basket. When the walls are as high as you want them, loop the remaining vertical sticks over and tuck the ends into your basket, or cut them off and tuck them in. Ta-da!

Early Chinook History
Later Chinook History

Bibliography and further reading about basketmaking:


Nez Perce people
Inuit people
Blackfoot people
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