Fibers & Forms
A buyer’s guide for baskets with advice from experts.
“My advice is to collect something you are passionate about,” says Debra Sherman, owner of Dancing Wolf Gallery in Elbert, Colorado, “and this will bring a passion to learn and a passion to continue collecting. And with passion, there is joy.”
This sentiment is felt widely throughout the Native American art community, but when it comes to basketry in particular it is a message to be heard, as there is an individual story behind each piece created. The narrative begins as the maker harvests their materials. Knowing when, where and how the materials grow is knowledge that has been passed on through generations of families. Then comes the intricate weaving of the basket—using methods such as plaiting, coiling and twining—and is followed by the form and designs that the work of art will take, which is a testament to the individual maker’s creativity and skill.
In the pages of this special buyer's guide, leading dealers, gallery owners and artists have provided examples of some the most intriguing baskets in their inventory. The pieces featured span from historic to contemporary, which allows collectors to see highlights of the past and present of basketmaking. There are baskets using alternative materials as well as baskets that are hundreds of years old. Artwork from tribes all around the country are represented as well, showcasing the characteristics that make the baskets special to a particular region.
Along with the imagery is a detailed description of the work, including information on the native materials used, the original purpose of the basket and the inspirations behind why it was created. The items found in this guide are available to purchase, so if something strikes you, contact the dealer and ask about acquiring the basket for your collection.