For millennia, Native artists on Olympic Peninsula, in what is now northwestern Washington, have created coiled and woven baskets using tree roots, bark, plant stems--and meticulous skill. From the Hands of a Weaver presents the traditional art of basket making among the peninsula's Native peoples--particularly women--and describes the ancient, historic, and modern practices of the craft. Abundantly illustrated, this book also showcases the basketry collection of Olympic National Park.
Baskets designed primarily for carrying and storing food have been central to the daily life of the Klallam, Twana, Quinault, Quileute, Hoh, and Makah cultures of Olympic Peninsula for thousands of years. The authors of the essays collected here, who include Native people as well as academics, explore the commonalities among these cultures and discuss their distinct weaving styles and techniques. Because basketry was interwoven with indigenous knowledge and culture throughout history, alterations in the art over time reflect important social changes.
Using primary-source material as well as interviews, volume editor Jacilee Wray shows how Olympic Peninsula craftspeople participated in the development of the commercial basket industry, transforming useful but beautiful objects into creations appreciated as art. Other contributors address poaching of cedar and native grasses, and conservation efforts--contemporary challenges faced by basket makers. Appendices identify weavers and describe weaves attributed to each culture, making this an important reference for both scholars and collectors.
Featuring more than 120 photographs and line drawings of historical and twentieth-century weavers and their baskets, this engaging book highlights the culture of distinct Native Northwest peoples while giving voice to individual artists, masters of a living art form.