First Nations Basketry Classes (2015)

We are very grateful that two Elders of the Tsawout First Nation have come to Pender Island to offer two introductory basketry classes.  The first class was on cedar bark weaving/basketry, and the second was on pine needle basketry.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2015 (Community Hall, 4418 Bedwell Harbour Road)

11:00 am – Introduction to Cedar Bark Weaving/Basketry (Hall upstairs)

1:15 pm – Introduction to Pine Needle Basketry (Hall downstairs)

TEACHER(S):  Elders Roberta Skookales Pelkey and Stella Underwood of the Tsawout First Nation, who once lived in a 10,000-year-old village beside Poet’s Cove on South Pender Island (see here for more)

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED (space and materials are limited):  Please register by emailing or calling 250-629-3825.  Then at the door, each class is $10 plus a food item for the Tsawout Food Bank (or $15/class), which includes materials for a small project.  Younger children are welcome to attend for free with their supervising parents, and older kids (8+) could also watch for free, or pay a class fee to make something of their own.

FIRST CLASS:  From 11:00 am to 12:30 is an introductory class on CEDAR BARK WEAVING/BASKETRY (see 1st photo below).  Note: it can take 10 or more hours to make a regular-sized cedar basket, so on February 21 we’ll be making a smaller learning project (see 1st picture below of what one participant made!).  Note: Cedar bark should only be harvested using culturally and environmentally appropriate methods, in small amounts from living trees, not downed trees.  Elder Roberta can explain more about this.

SECOND CLASS:  From about 1:15 to 4:00 pm is an introductory class on PINE NEEDLE BASKETRY.  This method involves finer, sewing-type work (see 2nd picture below), and can also be done with Scotch Broom plant stems instead of Pine Needles (see 3rd picture below).  On February 21, we will be getting an introduction to pine needle basketry by starting a small project (materials provided).  Note: Elder Roberta may be able to return for more teaching, so please email if you’re interested in a future class on either of the above basketry methods.

POST-CLASS UPDATE & REFERENCES:   We had 2 full classes of 28 folks in each, and you can see below for some of what we made!  Similar to the class handouts, here’s two new HOW-TO-LINKS, for Cedar Bark and Pine Needle coiled basketry.  Remember, the latter can be done with slender Broom stems, especially from taller “leggy” plants in shadier areas.  Just remember to pick them in early spring before blooming begins!