Frequently Asked Questions…
Please note if your inquiries or comments have already been answered.
Feel free to Contact the Artist with any potential questions, invitations, or comments.
Thank You for Visiting CemarthleArt.com!
When did you start weaving?
I began basket weaving once my children were in school during the late 90’s. I needed an artistic outlet and took classes in drawing and basket weaving; of the two, basket weaving is what really captured my heart. Working with my hands is what worked for me.
What basketry training have you received?
I learned from the Basket Weaving School in Seattle, WA. I lived in the area and after my sons were older I found a network of classes available. I was hooked with the coiled basket class. Later I also learned from native elders and from the Northwest Native Basketweavers Association at their yearly gathering. I enjoy working with my hands and liked the materials and designs that could be used in coiled basketry.
What are some of the themes or inspirations in your work? Where do you get your ideas?
I take inspiration from both of my tribes: the Plains art forms, ledger art, and bead work of the Northern Arapaho; the designs, colors, and patchwork from the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. I also interpret my own designs to see if a design I come up with will work.
In what ways does your work relate to historical native art?
I get influenced by both my tribes in my art. I also do a lot of research on a design and use that research to work into my baskets.
When and how did you discover your passion for art?
I loved to draw when I was very young, but it was something that wasn’t totally encouraged so I kind of lost touch until after I had my children.
How would you say your work has evolved over the years?
At the beginning my baskets were mostly geometric, basic basket designs. Then I began to think about doing more figures on a basket, as I had seen it done a few times on coiled baskets but wanted to refine it and see if I could get more details on a piece. Since then I have done many more baskets with more people, animals, and symbolism than ever before.
What do you mean by being a “Contemporary & Traditional” weaver?
I say “contemporary” because of the materials I use. I don’t go out in the woods and gather materials since I don’t live in the area where my traditional materials would be available. I use hemp, waxed linen thread, round reed, raffia, and colored threads to make my baskets. My designs are more contemporary, I do more figures with more color, and I am always looking for ways to incorporate new designs.
How long do your baskets take to make?
The process to create is from conception, research, color analysis, to finally sitting down and coiling the basket. They can take up to six months, but a lot depends on the size, the shape, and the design.
What is the most satisfying aspect of working in baskets? The most difficult?
The satisfying aspect is seeing the finished product and having the vision come true. The materials I use help me with my vision, the way I can shape a basket, the colors I can choose, and the actual coiling technique are what are most satisfying. The difficulty would also be my vision, sometimes a basket doesn’t come out exactly as I thought it would, and also the shape goes a different way than planned. Sometimes it just wants to be the way it wants to be and that works out well too.
Did you learn from your family? Or is it passed down through your family?
Not a lot was passed on to my siblings and me. My mother was raised in a Catholic orphanage on the Wind River Reservation, so she was not taught anything about her culture. On my father’s side, he was sent to a government boarding school where both traditional knowledge and language were not encouraged. My parents did not want us to experience what they had gone through so they thought it was better if we grew up “assimilated.”
Did your tribe make baskets? Is it their tradition?
Yes, both tribes coiled baskets. Northern Arapaho weavers used palmetto, sweet grass, and white willow and Seminole weavers use sweet grass and threads.
How has your multicultural heritage influenced your practice?
I feel that being of two very different tribes has been a great advantage. I get influences from both, and that I don’t have to be constrained to do only traditional or certain patterns pertaining to either tribe.
Could you remake a certain basket?
No two baskets are ever the same, and only under rare circumstances are replicas made.