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Basketry from native materials.

Basketry from native materials

EDUCATION STUDENTS AT California State University, Long Beach used local crafts people as resources for arts and crafts lesson plans. After an introduction to local Native American basketry and a look at what local makers of baskets market in stores and exhibit professionally, the university students studied the work of one particular craftsperson. Slides of work, an exhibit of the baskets and a lecture by the artist introduced the workshop which continued for several days.

The following lesson plan was developed as a model for the students to follow in creating their own basketry units. Art budgets are always tight, but students can collect their own basketry materials once they have learned to identify what can be used. Many of the materials can be picked up from around their homes and schools in suburban or rural settings. A neighborhood walk might be arranged around the school area so that students can identify and collect what is needed.

The local materials used by these Southern California students included leaf sheafs from the giant philodendron, New Zealand flax plants, King Palm fruit stems, fan palm, Draco Dracena, iris leaves, date palm fruit stem, grapevine, ivy, honeysuckles and many more. Different, but equally interesting and functional plant materials can be found in other geographic areas.

These materials need to be gathered several days in advance and allowed to dry. When dry, they must be soaked for approximately twelve hours before use. A plastic garbage can is recommended for this. If the fibers soak too long, they will rot. They must be dried between each use if you are working with them over a period of a week or two, and then resoaked. They may be kept wet for several days in a plastic sack. Clothespins hold pieces in place while weaving.
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Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Gregory, Anne
Publication:School Arts
Date:Feb 1, 1989
Words:302
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