Book Description: Basket weaving is an outlet for artistry and a showcase for the skills of Native Americans. These two books take different approaches to the subject, but both celebrate the talents of individuals and the difficulty of weaving in the old ways.
The Hopi basketmakers responded to the interest and patience of photographer Teiwes, the author of other books on Southwest tribes, with interviews and extensive demonstrations. Because many of the old methods and materials they use are dying out, this is a valuable document. Details of the flora used, dying methods, techniques for each kind of basket, and an appreciation of the design forms used are all included.
Rounding out the book are 128 of the author's photographs, 16 color plates, and a map of the Hopi lands, as well as an excellent chapter on ancient weaving in the area. Bibby is curator of an exhibit of 62 baskets judged to be the finest of their kind in California. They date from 1822 to the present, with basketmakers identified for almost all these gems. The book is the catalog for the exhibit, scheduled for the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and the Autry Museum in Los Angeles in the spring. Bibby considers craft items as individual works of art, and these dazzling examples, shown here in color, supersede mere utility.
Each basket is described, with information on the California tribe's customary forms and a sketch or photo of and interview with the maker. A simple set of clear and useful illustrations shows the different ways of coiling and twining, and a map and historical introduction are helpful. Both books are suitable for advanced crafts as well as Native American collections.