Handwoven Baskets & Hand Crochet
Celtic Bird Many Paths Fiber Arts

Pine Needle Baskets

Handwoven Baskets & Hand Crochet
 

Pine Needle Baskets

As a cultural anthropologist and craftswoman, I am drawn to traditional crafts because of my fascination with the way these forms of artistic expression keep cultural values and traditions alive. Baskets were probably some of the first carrying vessels and containers used by peoples all over the world. Various organic materials could be harvested to make the baskets, while the fibers' flexibility allowed for great variation in shape and form.

First Nations peoples have made baskets for thousands of years in North America. The indigenous peoples of the Northwest are renowned for their large cedar "burden" baskets, cedar bark hats, as well as miniature baskets decorated with hummingbird feathers. The Pomo and other Native peoples of California have used a variety of materials such as swamp canes, pine needles, rye grass, black ash, willow, and redbud to weave their baskets. The Hopi of the Southwest use willow, rabbit brush, sumac shoots and yucca cactus. The Cherokee, who traditionally lived in the Southeast, made baskets created by dying reed and grasses, then weaving the fibers into intricate patterns. The Abenaki of New England make baskets of split ash, pine needles, or sweet grass.

Pine Needle Basket

And when Africans were brought on slave ships to the United States, they carried with them the knowledge of their own basketry skills. The descendants of the Gullah people of South Carolina are famous for their beautiful, coiled sweet grass baskets.

Pine Needle Basket

I first learned how to make pine needle, sweet grass, and raffia baskets from a Cherokee metis while I was living in Northern California. At the time I gathered the pine needles from trees in the Mount Shasta area. Now I order my pine needles and sweet grass from a Southern basket supplier. I use a waxed linen thread rather than raffia because I can make a stronger basket (beeswaxed thread had been used by the early Irish, Scottish and other colonists). Using the traditional coil method, I weave pine needle baskets, some with lids, which I trim with sweet grass. Similar ones may have historically been used for storing seeds, nuts, dried herbs or trinkets.

The pine needle baskets pictured here are but a small sample of the variety I weave. I would be happy to supply additional pictures upon request.

 
  Pine Needle Basket with Blue Tips  Pine Needle Basket with Red Tips  Pine Needle Basket with Blue Tips  Pine Needle Basket with Brown Tips  
  Pine Needle Blue Bead Lid  Pine Needle with Green Bead Lid  Pine Needle Lime Bead Lid  Pine Needle Shell Lid  
  Pine Needle Labdorite  Pine Needle Citrine Chips  Pine Needle Tigers Eye Chips  Pine Needle Turquoise Chips  
  Pine Needle w/Mermaid    Pine Needle Duo    Pine Needle w/Labyrinth  
  Pine Needle w/Pine Cone Lid      Pine Needle Trio      CA Sweet Pine Needle  
Handwoven Baskets & Hand Crochet