The Language of Native American Baskets The Weavers' Aesthetic The Weavers' Aesthetic
Introduction The Weavers' View Techniques, Tools & Workplaces The Weavers' Aesthetic Burden Baskets A Set of Values Basketmaking Associations
Splices and Workfaces
Design Field
  “Haida baskets start with eight warps, four crossing four, then twining begins. There are twelve endings. There is a complicated ending with six strands that is done with a row of twining at the same time. I don’t know the name of that ending, I call it the nightmare six-strand ending.”
—Lisa Telford, Haida
  Starts and finishes

Historically, within a culture, a certain kind of basket is started in a characteristic way, and variations in basket starts carry cultural information. Pomo weavers use seven different starts in their coiled work and at least ten in their twined ware. Makah basket-makers start their baskets with a plaited base, but then twine the basket’s sides. Square and rectangular plaited baskets are usually begun with a checker- or twill-plaited base. Round plaited baskets are usually begun with a radial start where the warps are laid down like the spokes of a wheel, though that may be the only design elements they share. Starts are bound to tradition and how other weavers in the tribe begin their baskets, rather than to economy of form or materials.

Finishes are more varied, and often the finish begins well before the last row or two of stitches. It may be a wide band, where the weave or pattern changes. It may be a few rows of solid color, or of ticking or alternating colors. Finishes fit the intended use of a basket—those made for hard work have sturdy, reinforced rims and finishes, while baskets made for sale or display can have more fanciful decorative finishes. The type, color, and technique of finishes can also be culturally appropriate, such as the extra row of wrapping applied to Choctaw baskets or the solid black binding of White Mountain Apache baskets.
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