Baskets for Everything, Literally Everything

Posted By Joan Pont on August 26, 2011

I am always amazed when I think about the Native Americans living here before westward expansion and Europeanization.  Locally collected native plants were used for making water tight baskets for cooking, food gathering and storage, and techniques were extended to boat building.  The time and craftsmanship exhibited in just one basket is inspiring, and considering  wear and tear with daily use, new baskets needed to be made every season.  Peak into that lifestyle at our September 19th meeting of the Tamalpais Weavers’ Guild.  We meet Monday, 7 pm, Marin Art and Garden Center, Francis Young Gallery, and guests are welcome.  Our speaker is Charlie Kennard.

Charlie will show us a wide variety of baskets he has made using central California Indian coiling and twining techniques and designs, as well as other baskets employing European techniques, all using local plants. He will discuss the challenges of creating patterns while increasing stitch and warp counts, and the gathering and preparation of weaving materials.Charlie is a long-time student of California Indian basketry, as well as of several European techniques, including bee-hive weaving. He has been giving presentations and workshops on traditional uses of native plants throughout the Bay Area for adults andyouth for more than a decade, and is developing a basketry plant garden at the top of the MAGC property. Full-size tule boats built in his workshops are in the collections of the Oakland Museum, the Academy of Sciences, and Lake County Museum. Charlie is active in habitat restoration with Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed in Marin County, and is also a professional photographer.

Baskets and cordage in a sedge bed, photograph and handiwork by Charles Kennard