I don't know that I have the energy to write very much today, so I'm going to share some basket photos with you. Most of the ones I'm posting are Pomo baskets. I'll try to remember to say if they come from another Tribe. These pictures were taken last night when we went to the Hearst Museum's off-site basket storage facility. They hold some 10,000 baskets, 9,000 of which are Native Californian. I don't know that there's any way to adequately convey the weight of all of those baskets stashed away in rolling bookshelves.
That's just one row. And each of those bookshelves is filled with baskets.
Little baskets, big baskets, burden baskets, fish traps, baby baskets. You are all hand-workers. You know that when you put yourself into something you create, when you make it right so that it will do its job and last and be something lovely to rest the eyes on, you want it to be used. We all know the tragedy of giving someone a handknitted shawl, say, and having the recipient tuck it away in mothballs "for special" (am I speaking from experience? indeed I am). This was like that, times 9,000.
I am always in awe of the little bitty presentation baskets, decorated with feathers and beads.
(I admit, I sometimes fret about all the little topknotless quail running around.)
Some are so small, I can't imagine anyone's hands being dextrous enough to weave them. That blurry object in the left corner is my thumb, for scale.
And the patterns. My goodness, the patterns.
These basket caps are woven so tightly that water can't come through. (They're from further north, as you can see from the sign.)
I wish these could come back into use, but of course, they can't be touched with bare hands, as they've been treated with mercury and other pesticides over the years. They can only be held while wearing gloves.
Tomorrow: Back to language