Historically, Native American baskets were used by Indians to carry or store their belongings. Many American Indians were at least semi nomadic. In order to more efficiently move their possessions from one spot to another, baskets were often used. Even sedentary tribes made use of baskets to store and protect their food and valued items.
Native American baskets were, and are, made out of a wide variety of materials. The artists used available materials such as pine needles, birch bark, willow wood, and river cane to make baskets. Native American baskets weaving is alive and well today and is far from being a forgotten art form. Indian artists use their own creativity to produce beautiful works of woven art while keeping to design tradition.
The baskets were always made with an eye for beauty, although originally they were made to function. The very shapes are soothing to behold. Native American baskets are usually created with a decorative woven pattern. A certain tribe or region of the country will offer different patterns in their basket weaving.
Indian basket weavers generally use one of several techniques to make baskets. Coiling is one of the most commonly used techniques in basket making. Coiling is often used to make baskets out of pine needles or grass. Designs can be integrated into the basket as the artist weaves, making it a unique and special creation.
The Indians of the southwest have used the wicker method of basket making. Both Sumac and Willow switches are generally the materials of choice when making wicker baskets. Besides the baskets themselves, wicker plaques are made for use in ceremonies. These basket plaques are bright and cheerful, featuring many traditional designs.
The range of Native American baskets is really breathtaking. New ideas and innovations have been incorporated into traditional methods as time has passed. This has expanded the variety of baskets available. Indian baskets can range in size from tiny ones that will fit on the palm of your hand to ones large enough to carry firewood. The size of most baskets will fall between those extremes, however.
When decorating in a rustic or southwestern style, a Native American basket will definitely add a decorative touch. A beautiful woven or coiled basket, made by a skilled Indian artisan, will be a valued addition to any room. Dramatic displays can be created not only with baskets, but with basket plaques.
These plaques can be used as a visual focal point on a wall, much like paintings might be used. Baskets made by skilled Indian men and women can add the tradition and culture of Native Americans to any home. What better way to enliven your home decorating than with a product of Native American imagination and skill.
See our complete gallery of Native American baskets.