Come & Go: Basket Making Workshop offered during Woodturning Competition


Experienced basket maker and workshop instructor, Linda Lou Alexander will be teaching her famed basket weaving skills during the weekend of the Master’s at Work: Woodturning Competition, giving participants the chance to watch some serious lathe wrangling while they work.

The workshops will be held at the Forest Heritage Center Museum on Friday, September 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 14th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Two different types of baskets will be offered. For $10 guests can choose to make a Double Wall Western Cherokee Basket or for $15 you can make a Pine Needle Coiled Basket.

The Double Woven River Cane baskets, among other baskets, were often made by the Southeast Cherokee. When they were removed in 1838 to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma, they began to weave the Oklahoma (Western) Cherokee Double Wall Basket. This basket is most often made from Buckbrush, Honeysuckle and Willow. The double-weave technique of weaving baskets features an outside basket joined by a seamless edge to a separately woven inner basket, called the "return." The double weave permits a variety of innovative design combinations.

Basket weaving with needles from pine trees or grass is an ancient craft, possibly 9,000 years old. It is part of the tradition of coiled basketry, a very old method that has been practiced all over the world. In the United States, pine needle and grass baskets were first produced by Native Americans. This technique was later adopted and used by Americans of European and African descent.

All pine needles are not created equal! Needles from the Longleaf Pine, or Pinus palustris, are almost always used in basket making. The average length of the Longleaf Pine needles is 6 to 18 inches. The Shortleaf Pines produce a needle that may be up to 7 to 9 inches long, but these needles are quite skinny. The needles were gathered, washed and dried. Then they were bundled and coiled into a spiral. The coils were wrapped and sewn together using twine threaded onto a shell needle.

Baskets are still made worldwide and are intriguing and beautiful, as well as functional. But as you are about to learn, basket making is an art. There’s no need to register for this workshop; just come as you are. This is a come and go workshop for people of all ages. All supplies will be provided.

For more information on the Basket Making Workshop or the Master’s at Work: Woodturning Competition & Exhibit contact the Forest Heritage Center Museum at (580) 494-6497,  fhc@beaversbend.com or visit www.forestry.ok.gov/fhc.