← Go Back View Video: Pat Courtney Gold Printable Version

Indian Basket Weaving

Overview:

This lesson covers the art of weaving and basket making that was traditionally developed by Native Americans. Students will explore Indian designs, experiment with weaving materials and create their own basket.

Featured Artist: Pat Courtney Gold

Video Description: A Native American basket weaver talks about her ancestors, the Wasco Indians that lived along the Columbia River, and their philosophy of basket weaving. In particular she talks a lot about the designs that are woven into the baskets. Pat Courtney Gold has created many of her own designs, and discusses the many uses of baskets, the kinds of natural materials used to make them, and shows a variety of weaving techniques.

Clip Length: 10:25 minutes

Themes Explored in this Unit:

  • Social studies: Indian culture in the Pacific Northwest
  • Art: Explore with Indian designs
  • Art: Simple basket weaving techniques
  • Art: Explore with weaving materials
  • Communication: Sharing student art and ideas

Notes to Teachers About this Lesson Plan:

This unit is intended to be used with young children. It would be helpful to have parents or teacher aides available to help.

ACTIVITY 1: Who are the Indians in the Northwest?

Objectives:

  • See and experience making northwest American Indian designs.
  • Play with design patterns with crayons and pencils.
  • Understand what a basket is.
  • Draw baskets with their favorite designs on them.

Estimated Time Needed for Activity:

Two 30 -- 40 minute class

Notes:

The most important thing for younger students is to get a chance to play with the designs on paper and get a feeling for what a basket is.

Addressing Cultural Diversity in the Learning Environment:

Take a look at basket weaving styles from different Indian cultures or from various countries such as Africa or Asia. Bring in samples or pictures of these other styles and students can compare them and make observations. How are they the same? How are they different?

Materials Needed for this Activity:

  • Drawing/graph paper
  • Crayons
  • Sample baskets for them to feel and observe
  • Pictures of the Indian designs we’ll be working with
  • Books around the class about Indians

Additional Resources:

  • Dover Publications have books about American Indian design. For more information: www.doverpublications.com
  • American Indian Design and Decoration by LeRoy Appleton, Dover Publication, 1950. (Located at the library or through Dover Publications).

Procedure:

  1. Show the baskets and pass them around to student tables so they can feel them.
  2. Encourage them to ask questions.
  3. Questions to ask students:
    • What does the basket feel like?
    • What do you see when you look at it?
    • Does the basket have a smell?
    • What do you think it is used for?
    • Have you ever seen one before? Where? What was it used for?
    • Would you like to try and make one?
  4. Get a nice collection of basket attributes.
  5. Did you know Indians were excellent basket weavers, especially the Indians in the Southwest and California? They used baskets for everything. Some were so tightly woven that they were waterproof. They used fibers found in nature. Important designs were woven into the baskets using fibers that had been colored with mineral or vegetable dyes.
  6. Bring out pictures of Indian designs, preferably northwest Indian or west coast indian designs.
  7. Show the video or as much of it as you have decided to use.
  8. Have copies of the designs for each table or each child so they can pick and choose different designs to try.
  9. Pass out the drawing paper and crayons.
  10. Give students time to draw and experiment with different designs.
  11. Collect papers and save for next session.

Assessment

Extensions and Adaptations

  • Do a whole Northwest Indian unit and this can simply be a part of it.
  • Expand on the Indian designs and research to find more in the library or in books at home or in the classroom, categorize them according to area or style. Do any designs repeat?
  • Pick a design and do a whole report on the design. Look at European and Asian designs -- see if any resemble the design you picked.

ACTIVITY 2: Making Baskets

Objectives:

  • Weave a basket
  • Design baskets by problem solving and viewing designs from the last session

Estimated Time Needed for Activity:

One 40--50 minute session, depending on the pace of the class

Notes:

It would be very helpful to have a parent helper or two in the classroom to help students.

Addressing Cultural Diversity in the Learning Environment:

What are different uses of woven baskets in a variety of cultures? This can be a brainstorming activity where students are told what the environment is like and can make guesses as to how baskets might be used. For example: to store fish, clothes, or to move certain items around like rocks or herbs.

Materials Needed for this Activity:

  • Assorted natural fibers: grasses, willow, straw, corn husks, weeks, raffia (from a craft store)
  • Or there may be other fibers around the house or in a crafts store that would work: (ribbon, yarn, string, yarn, newspaper, cloth strips, pipe cleaners)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Crayons
  • Dye
  • Tag board
  • Drawing paper
  • Template

Additional Resources:

Books and pictures of Indian crafts or basket weaving, Indians of the Pacific Northwest, weavers of the West, etc.

Procedure:

  1. Hand back designs students made last time.
  2. Offer options for creating the base for the basket.
  3. Offer options for creating the design on the basket.
  4. Offer options for weaving the basket.
  5. Students pick their fibers and methods and make their baskets.
  6. The baskets can be any size.
  7. Offer this option: Students can dye some string different colors and create designs by weaving the dyed string into the basket, or students can make the Indian patterns on strips of tag board or thinly folded paper strips and then weave the strip into the basket. These can be interspersed with other fibers and colors.
  8. Students can either make their own template based on the options or the teacher can provide pre--made templates to students who opt to use them. If students use the template in materials section #5, they must tape the first fiber strip at the bottom and weave the fiber under and over the template strips going around in circles. They add new fiber as they go; when a new piece is added the new fiber should be woven over the last piece to hide the end.
  9. If students choose, they can begin their baskets with woven tag board, cardboard, newspaper or folded paper strips like this:

    Fold the strips up and begin weaving.
  10. You can also do the same type of base using pipe cleaners
  11. When the weaving is finished the tops of the fibers have to be fastened.
  12. Can use glue, tuck it under or tie it off with yarn or some thin fiber.
  13. Students take an inventory of how many fibers it took to complete the project.
  14. Students write about how they made them and the steps involved.

Assessment

Extensions and Adaptations

  • Writing: students can write explanations on how to do something like how to tie their shoe or make a bisquit, in such a way that someone else could do it.
  • Writing and geography: use maps and have students write directions for others to get around using the map to a certain location.

ACTIVITY 3: Debriefing

Objectives:

  • Share work
  • Verbalize ideas and answer questions about the baskets
  • Be a responsive audience
    • Ask questions
    • Say positive things
    • Make suggestions to help solve problems the speaker presented.
  • Decide where to display their baskets or decide how to use them in the classroom, etc.

Estimated Time Needed for Activity:

One or two class sessions depending on how long sharing takes

Notes:

Once the baskets are complete, they can be used as art or serve functions in the classroom. It would be nice for the students to see their work as useful.

Addressing Cultural Diversity in the Learning Environment:

Students can find baskets at home to bring in and share about how they are used and where they came from. In addition, students can bring in pictures of baskets from around the world that they find interesting and want to share.

Materials Needed for this Activity:

  • The finished baskets

Additional Resources:

Can invite another class to see the sharing especially if they are doing the same thing.

Procedure:

  1. Students display baskets on a table or whatever and pick them up when it is their turn to share.
  2. Each student gets a chance to share their basket art and talk about it.
  3. The audience gets to ask questions, give positive feedback or make suggestions for solving a problem the presenter brings up if done respectfully.

Assessment

Extensions and Adaptations

  • Go on a field trip to a museum that has Indian artifacts and baskets for students to see.
  • Go on a field trip to Kaneeta Resort in Warm Springs, Oregon.
  • Locate an Indian craftsperson to come in.

About the Author: Alice Cotton

Alice is an accomplished, professional illustration artist, educator, author, publisher and speaker. Aliceís niche is portraying historical architecture in a distinctive pen and ink drawing style. Her professional illustration projects include a current publication entitled, "When Buildings Speak: Stories Told by Oregonís Historical Architecture" as well as freelance architectural illustration for McMenaminís pubs and Breweries.

Lesson At A Glance:

OR Standards:
Historical and Cultural Perspectives
Create, Present, Perform
Create, Present, Perform
Aesthetics and Art Criticism

Integrated Subjects:
Social Studies
Science
Math
English/Language Arts

Downloads:
Presentation Scoring Guide
Basket Weaving Template
Creation Scoring Guide


This site is supported by:
Randall_logo

An Art Beat Special
Teaching-creativity
Teaching Creativity: Is Art the Answer?
Can art play a role in preparing students for the job world? ART BEAT visits three Oregon schools to explore the value of arts education.
Premieres Thursday, May 27 at 8 p.m.
Visit the site >>
Tol_horizontal_logo
Finding Solutions: Arts Education
TOL's Finding Solutions series continues the conversation about the arts in Oregon's public schools. Help shape the program. Join the discussion now >>
Tune in Friday, May 28th, 9:00 a.m. on OPB Radio

Webbylogo

Thanks to our Sponsor:
become a sponsor
Thanks to our Sponsors