October 2023 - Burden Baskets

Next time you hit the road, don't forget to stop in at the Pickle Barrel Trading Post and say hello. New products and a sale or two are just a few things that will make you smile!

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This month we take a look at the history of:

THE APACHE BURDEN BASKET

ENJOY!

The Apaches, traditionally nomadic hunters and food gatherers, first used burden baskets woven by women to carry firewood, roots, or berries. The tassels, typically made from deer or cow skin, were mainly for ceremonial or decorative use, while the tin featured at the bottom of the tassels was placed for ornamentation, or to ward off snakes while gathering.

Today, however, burden baskets are made for art collectors, or for special use during a young girl’s puberty ceremony, or “Sunrise Dance,” as many now call it.


When seeing an Apache burden basket for the first time, we're not only struck by the unique quality of such an object, but by its beauty and practicality: the fresh, tangy scent of the willow strips combined with the pure, organic feel of the basket create a simple yet intriguing weaving.



Baskets are created by using Cottonwood and willow. First, the Cottonwood branches must be gathered along washes, then cut, and finally bent to form the shape and size of the basket. Smaller trees are best as their branches are more pliable. For bigger ceremonial baskets, thicker sticks are used as more support is needed.



The willow strips are split three ways, peeled, and woven as quickly as possible so they won't dry out- or they can be stored in Ziploc bags for later use. When one looks at the bottom of a well done basket, it appears 'punched up', seen as an inverted cone. This is due to the tightness of the willow weave.



The top rim is wrapped twice, with wire and willow strips, and then a strip of buckskin is wrapped around that. Finally, a long strap and thin strips of buckskin will be attached to the rim and base of basket, along with hand-cut tin jingles.



'Single stitch' baskets are especially time consuming. These are done with a 1X1 stitch as opposed to the more common 2X2, and it's a much finer, tighter weave. Devil's Claw (martynia) is sometimes blended with the willow for these striking, graphic baskets. The Devil's Claw is soaked in hot water overnight, then split twice and woven. It's an arduous process because the strips are so thin.

The Pickle Barrel Trading Post has worked with many of these talented weavers for over 20 years and we currently have a nice selection of baskets available at our store. Stop in soon!


-CURRENT SALES-

25% OFF

OFF ALL GIGI PIP HATS



20% OFF

ALL NATIVE-MADE

STERLING SILVER BRACELETS



NEW

STORE HOURS:

WED-SUN 11:00AM-5:00PM

CLOSED MON & TUE

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