Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women and Their Basketry

From Library Journal

Far more than a survey of Eastern Cherokee women basket makers, this is an in-depth study of tribal women's history, the ecological and social obstacles facing weavers and other artisans, and the pressures of society, mainly tourism, on their craft. Hill, an independent scholar with a doctorate in American studies, has done a staggering amount of research to produce possibly the definitive historical study of Cherokee women and their basketry. Indeed, the baskets often take second place to the powerful quotes, representing all periods from the time of white contact to the present, especially about the strength it took to remain hidden in the mountains on their own land when most of the tribe was removed to Oklahoma. But the baskets are the attraction here: a variety of materials (primarily cane, oak, honeysuckle, and maple) are used through the centuries in a variety and quality that remains amazing. More recently, ornamentation and novelty have replaced utility, but the baskets still have the tautness and beauty of the old forms, and the same designs persist. For more scholarly Native American collections. Gay Neale, Southside Virginia Community Coll. Lib., Alberta

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