Friday, May 21, 2010


Baskets are for sissies!  Right all you macho survivalist readers out there!  They are only for little girls in pretty dresses gathering Easter eggs...and should only be made and appreciated by crafty women who wear puppy dog sweat tops.  No self respecting Rambo would say otherwise!  WRONG-O!!!!  If Rambo had yet another would show him out in the jungle...sitting with some native women...fabricating his living and survival weaving baskets!

Open up your mind a bit if it isn't already.

With a bit of instruction...that could literally be learned in a couple of afternoons...a person could know how to weave together a basic container.  With the confidence of having made that simple could have the foundation for knowing how to make other various structures out of natural materials that they collect.

Now.  I am not meaning to say that there isn't a ton to know about basketry.  It truly is an art.  There are a myriad of different weaves and materials that people work a lifetime to master.  What I am saying is that with a little could put together some structures...that while they won't win any awards at the county fair...they will be useful.

I can speak with confidence on this...because for a couple of afternoons I sat at the feet of one of the most accomplished basket weavers in the world...Julia Parker...who helped me to get some of the basics down.  Now I feel like I could manufacture most any shape and size out of materials I find...natural or otherwise!!

So why is this a useful skill?

Think about it.  You could make...

Containers for gathering and storing.

For carrying and hauling.

For living in and sitting on.

For traveling in and with.

Cooking in.

For holding food...and even water!

Basketry skills make things like...


Fish and bird traps.

Fans for cooling off.

Huts and hats.

Chairs and clothing.

Animal Muzzles and cages.

Cradles and coffins.

The list goes on and on...

Basketry truly is a foundational skill for the truly self reliant in a primitive living scenario.

To learn basketry...I'd recommend as a first choice searching out the indigenous people's in your area to teach you.  Parks and recreations might also have classes like that.  Books are also very valuable...but can't completely substitute having the hands on instruction.  Check with your local library...and you may find as I have that there are plenty of books on the topic to check out for free.

Many native tribes also have a tradition that a basket should never be made by someone mourning a death...or when thinking bad thoughts.  The thought is that negative energy will transfer into the basket basically making it like a curse to whomever uses it.  This tradition has made basketry a happy occasion for it should be for you.  Don't get frustrated and upset.  Enjoy yourself!  Sit with friends and chat while out in nature and you may find as I did what an enriching experience it can be!

1 comment:

  1. I'm of the opinion that the more of the older life skills we can learn, the better off we are!

    Besides being a way to make a useful product from whatever is available, there is a great satisfaction in creating something with your own two hands!

    Calms the mind and soothes the soul! What more could you ask?