We had the honor of having Cathy MacGregor and her basket weaving as our January Program, it was amazing all the things she shared with us on the process of weaving with different materials.
Cathy explained the harvesting of Cedar bark and how it was prepared before weaving. The cedar tree is considered the tree of life and only small amounts are taken from the smaller trees. After it is cut from the tree, the outer bark is stripped off and the inner bark is soaked in water before being used. The Cedar can be either red or yellow and the longer it soaks in water, the darker it gets. Cathy mentioned that clothing can be made from yellow cedar. Other grasses are also used to weave such as: Bear Grass, Sweet Grass, Bull Rush, cedar roots and bark.
The baskets are started by plating or spider weaving the bottoms then the side are woven using overlay, skip stitch or over twine techniques. When the basket is finished, Cathy decorates them with beads, abalone and copper.
TYPES OF BASKETS
This is a Cat Ear Basket. It is made from sweet grass and woven so there are points (cat ears) the basket sits on.
This is a Berry Basket. it is a simple square basket with long loops that hangs around your neck to free your hands for berry picking.
This is a Bent Bark Basket. As the name implies, it is made by bending bark. It is used as an emergency basket.
We thank Cathy so much for sharing your heritage with us and her love of weaving traditional baskets. We learned so much about weaving baskets and the history and traditions of her tribe. If you are interested in learning how to weave with cedar, Cathy is teaching classes at the Peninsula College.