This week, I will touch on some examples of how these early baskets were decorated. I wish you all could come and see them in person, it is hard to convey how delicate they are in pictures! I have here at the Museum baskets that are both painted and unpainted, beaded and embroidered, but as decoration goes, I also include the weave in this area as well.
Starting plainly, with the unpainted versions, I have found them to be actually in the minority. Most unpainted types are the fancy open weaves, to which there really is no place on the basket 'to' paint, but some can be found of a solid tight weave, that have been left unpainted
Don't forget to click on the pictures to enlarge them! The really intricately woven types are by far the most delicate, as you can see in this close up I have one example, my beloved 'chopped' basket, that is nearly identical to the oblong basket in the 9 o'clock position in the group photo above, that was broken long ago. All that remains is the bottom, and top ring with the lid and 2 handles. So highly prized it was, that instead of throwing it into the fire, the lid was stitched onto the base, making for a rather peculiar looking flat basket! The fact that these baskets were highly prized in their day, is a definite contributing factor to their existence to modern times, having been put up carefully out of harms way
The daguerreotype below shows a wonderful embroidered sewing basket. It is easy to tell it is embroidered and not painted, as the wool back side of the embroidery can be seen inside the basket
This rare rectangular shape, in really rough condition, but still has its awesome bead work band around the center, and tho the rim has breakage in areas, still retains both its swing handles
The majority of these I have found to be painted
Of the color palette, there are two distinct groups~ those mainly designed with an orangey red and indigo blue flower scheme.....
And of coarse, the lids are just as prettily painted as the sides
I would think that a person would be able to go to the basket maker and order a particular design, as I think is the case with this fabulous basket with a Pineapple. Perhaps it was a welcoming gift?
Next week I will touch on the different sizes and shapes, as well as the periods in time to which these were produced