University logo Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 254.008
Object Name Basket, Trinket
Collector Found in CSUC Stiles warehouse during reorganization in 1990.
Description Baskets found in storage during reorganization in 1990, no other information or documentation available.

(Heather Martin 10/16/2016) This is a heart-shaped coiled basket with a handle. The workface is the exterior and the work direction is to the left. The foundation is a bundle of pine needles and the weft is a commercial cotton string. Rather than a traditional start, the basket has a flat base made of birch. The heart-shaped base has holes drilled around the perimeter to facilitate the attachment of the first coil. The stitches slant downward and to the left, are non-interlocking, and are spaced in a way that creates columns that slightly spiral up the walls of the basket. A decorative effect was created by placing two stitches in each location, the first stitch is oriented diagonally as the weaver moves leftward and spaces the new stitch while the second stitch, which wraps around the foundation and is placed in the same hole made by the first stitch, is oriented vertically. Together, these two stitches create a slanted "V" shape. Weft splices are secured by knotting the string on itself to prevent the weft from pulling through the foundation. The coil ending is tapered and the weft is secured to the coil below. The rim is finished with a braid of pine needles that are lashed to the top of the final coil. The handle of the basket is "Y" shaped, attaching to the lower point and two upper curves of the heart with string. The handle is a single bundle of pine needles that is wrapped with two crossing pieces of string to create and "X" pattern. There are pine cone fragments attached where the handle joins the basket, one at each curve and two at the point, and a final cone at the joint of the "Y" at the top of the handle.

Coiled baskets made with pine needle foundations have not been documented in Native American cultures prior to contact with Europeans. In the twentieth century, these baskets were made by Native communities throughout the United States, particularly in the south. It has been suggested that Native American pine needle baskets were influenced by African American baskets made of sweet grass, a technique that is believed to have originated in Africa and brought to the United States along with slavery (Perdue, Jr. 1968). Additionally, Mrs. M. J. McAfee, a Caucasian woman from Georgia, claims that she invented the pine needle basket when she had no access to materials to make hats for her family during the Civil War (McAfee 1911). McAfee developed the technique into an artful craft and began teaching classes to Caucasian women. In 1917, William C. A. Hammel, the Superintendent of City Schools of Greensboro, North Carolina, advocated for teaching pine needle basket making in schools to encourage students to be resourceful when finding materials and to be creative and artistic while making a craft that has both economic and utilitarian value (Hammel 1917). With so many possible origins and so many communities making pine needle baskets, it is difficult to attribute the origin of this basket to any location or community within the United States. Mary Wahl suggested that this basket may have been made by the Cree in Washington.

(Mary Wahl 4/19/2001) Pine needle basket with birch bark. Washington area, possibly Cree. Tourist basket.
Material pine needles, birch, string
Place of Origin CSUC
Provenance Washington, Cree (Mary Wahl 4/19/2001)
unknown (Heather Martin 10/16/2016)
Date Collected: March 1990
Dimensions H-40.64 L-17 cm
Imagefile 004\254008-5.JPG
Caption 254.008 image showing the basket from the top