Southern Appalachian Digital Collections

Western Carolina University (21) View all

Basket: honeysuckle, sewing

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  • It is not known who made this undated brightly dyed basket in the permanent collection of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual. The basket is made from honeysuckle woven over white oak ribs. The woven lid, with wrapped handle, fits over the base. Traditionally, storage baskets were made to store domestic goods, from dry foodstuffs to clothing. The natural aeration of the weave allows the stored goods to remain dry. Often, lidded baskets of this shape and size were used as sewing baskets; the smaller ones were known as button baskets. The honeysuckle is thought to be dyed with bloodroot to yield the orange bands that run up the sides of the basket. Bloodroot, used by Cherokee basket weavers to make dye, is a plant native to the region. But the bright yellow color may be from yellowroot.