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Photo of Completed Black Ash Baskets and the Materials Used to Build ThemMaking Black Ash Baskets
Basket-making dates back centuries in many Native American cultures. Baskets fashioned with black ash were woven for everything from corn washing to berry picking. As time progressed, ornamental or "fancy" baskets were added to the mix. Baskets come in many styles and sizes for many uses. They are quite sturdy and can be used by several generations of people.

 

Making wood strips for Weaving Black Ash BasketsTo make a basket out of Black Ash, a log that is 5-6 inches in diameter is located. The trunk must have at least 4-6 feet of straight, unblemished wood. The tree is cut into a log and then is pounded with the blunt end of an axe. This separates the annual rings into pliable wood strips.

 

Ojibwe Women Weaving Black Ash BasketsThese strips are smoothed out with a knife, peeled into thinner strips, and cut to different widths. The last step before weaving is to soak the strips in water so that they are more flexible. To begin weaving a basket, the weaver uses a form to get just the right shape. The strips are woven together and might include strips of sweetgrass or other natural fibers.

 


To find out more about traditional basket making, check out the links below: