The Language of Native American Baskets The Weavers' Aesthetic The Weavers' Aesthetic
Introduction The Weavers' View Techniques, Tools & Workplaces The Weavers' Aesthetic Burden Baskets A Set of Values Basketmaking Associations
Starts and Finishes
Splices and Workfaces
Design Field
The weavers’ aesthetic

A weaver’s critical education begins when she first learns to weave and continues each time she picks up a basket. Techniques and processes are what weavers talk about when they discuss each other’s work. Their conversation, like that of all specialists, assumes a certain level of knowledge. When a basket-maker admires the quality of another weaver’s work, for example, she is commenting on the long and elaborate process of gathering, preparing, and using materials the weaver has learned and mastered. The weavers’ aesthetic takes into consideration technical skill, personal creativity, and cultural rules and traditions.

When weavers admire a basket, they do not hold it at arm’s length and marvel. Rather, they look to see how it is begun and finished, what materials its maker used and how she used them, her choice of stitching, which designs she chose and how she placed them on the basket’s surface. A basket is not a number of features to be analyzed in isolation, but a work that, literally, weaves together aesthetically deliberate and culturally meaningful ideas.