|small native American baskets made from the original rye grass material|
Last Wednesday, I attended a Native American Basket Weaving Workshop. It was sponsored by the municipality of Anchorage and I chose this as part of a community assignment to complete for a course I am taking that will secure my K-12 teaching credential. It was held at Russian Jack Springs at the Lidia Selkregg Chalet. I found that (formally) Lidia Lippi was born in Florence, Italy and then married Fred Selkregg during WWII. She became a activist and environmentalist, a doctor in the field of land management where she fought for watershed properties in Anchorage. Recently inducted into Alaska's Hall of Fame, she passed away in 1999. Russian Jack Springs was discovered from Jacob or "Jack" Marunenko, a Russian emigrant, around 1930 and while he homesteaded the property, it was bought out during the war and actually used as a prison and rehabilitation center for alcoholics. It was soon turned into a recreational park.
|one of the books available to peruse during our workshop|
Often surprised with the hidden gems in Anchorage that I stumble upon, taking for granted the history of place, the roots of where I live and the people around me restores my sense of station. The two unfinished baskets pictured above are made from the natural rye grass material that the native people used to weave their baskets. The rye grass was harvested in bundles when soft and when dried, the strands were split into threads to complete the weaving. Some baskets are extravagant and beautiful, embossed with silk and wool embroidery. The native people would use these baskets for functional purposes to gather berries, dried fish and nuts. Shown below is my own creation made from rattan strands. I chose rattan that had been soaking in onion skins and complimented it with a natural berry color threads. The instruction was invaluable and I learned a great lesson that day. At times we had to soak our beginning creations in a vat of cold water to keep the strands supple and workable. Eventually, you discovered the process of weaving by absorbing part of the heritage too! My basket will be used for study and take me to another arena in my own personal art making.
|my humble Native American Twined Basket|