Award winning basket weaver and teacher, Mary Smith of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma will present the Southeastern Woven Mat workshop in the Mary H. Herron Community Conference Center of the Museum of the Red River, 812 E. Lincoln Road, Idabel, Oklahoma. The workshop will be held on August 24 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Pot-Luck lunch at noon, so bring something yummy to share!
The cost of the workshop is $45 and that includes all materials for the project. The mat that will be made at this workshop will be made of binder cane (commercial) with a double rimming method which Mary adapted from the older Cherokee baskets made in and around Cherokee, North Carolina.
Woven mats were made of cane by most Southeastern tribes with multi-purpose uses. They were used as seats, bedding, to line the walls/floors and also to wrap the deceased. According to Marshall Gettys in Basketry of the Southeastern Indians, twilled mats were formerly made but are now not to be seen. In the old days, the Choctaws and other native peoples camped at the site of the river cane swamps. These sites provided the raw material used in the making of their baskets and mats. They stayed at these camps for the duration of the cutting, splitting, peeling, stripping, trimming, and drying of the strips they called straws. After the cane is split, the underlying plant tissue must be stripped away from the outer "skin" of the sections which are afterwards called "straws." Each straw is trimmed vertically to make the widths even. The straws are never stored before stripping and trimming. After these thin pliable straws are dried, they are ready for use, or storage.
For more information please call the Museum of the Red River at 580-286-3616.