Focus On: Basket Making

18 Apr

Basket-making in the Arctic region is a traditional practice that has been around for centuries. Baskets are made from the dried grass that grows in the Arctic tundra, which is very durable and water-resistant.

An example of grass on the Arctic tundra.

The tradition of basket making was lost mid-1900s, but a few decades ago it was revived because of artists such as Annie Cookie, from Sanikiluaq, who used the memories and knowledge from older generations to recreate the process. Baskets made in the Arctic today are considered to be works of art, and often have bold geometric designs and decorative sculptures and handles on the lids.

"Basket with Walrus" by an unknown artist from Igloolik made with beach grass, leather and stone, 2007.

"Basket with Seal" made by Maggie Kattuk from Sanikiluaq, made with beach grass, stone and yarn, 2007.

The process of basket-making is long and arduous as it can take up to a month to weave a large basket. Baskets are made from repeatedly coiling the grass from the bottom of the basket and building the basket up. Designs are created by stitching thread onto the basket, however some designs are actually woven in. This thread can be made from a number of materials, such as de-haired sealskin, leather, and yarn.

Posted by Emma Ward, Visitor Services Officer

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  1. The “May Basket” Art Journal Page | scribology - June 6, 2012

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