Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tools We Use

Today we had a visitor.  Emily from Oregon Folk-Life, the sponsor of our grant, drove from Eugene (5 ½ hours!) to meet Verna and I and discuss our projects progress.  One of the topics that came up was the type of tools we use today with our basketweaving.  Before white contact, our Karuk ancestors did not have metal, but I’m sure if they did, they would have used pocket knives, metal awls, scissors and clippers. Recently Verna acquired a bear grass “sizer” made by a woman in Washington.  We are in the process of refining it, but it seems to work great in getting long straight identically sized bear grass blades. It’s a piece of wood, about 4 inches long, with two small pieces of razor blade inserted parallel to each other at one end of the wood.  The bear grass is then pulled in between the two razor blades sizing them perfectly. Beautiful baskets can be achieved when a weaver’s materials are as close to the same size as possible. Below are pictures of some of our weaving tools, and my cap progress to date.  It was a good day.


My progress to date.

Emily interviewing Verna.

Emily and Karen looking at basket materials.

Tools, including my favorite antler awl made by a friend.

Newest tool! Beargrass splitter.

This shows the blades.

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