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Traditional Weavers Gather to Learn From Master Basket Weaver Donna Nightpipe

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Penny Smith (L) , daughter of the late Ted and Ruth Smith, gets the 1:1 teaching from master weaver Donna Nightpipe during during the workshop.

By Don Decker, YAN News

Learning from Donna Nightpipe is an honor. Saturday, October 24, saw the gathering of approximately 18 weavers at the Nation’s culture center to try their skills in making a flat basket.
It’s a dying art and only a few traditional weavers are left such as Nightpipe of Yavapai-Apache Nation. Under the auspices of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, this 2-day workshop brought weavers from various locations in the southwest to meet Nightpipe and to recieve first-hand knowledge of the techniques used in basket weaving.
The culture department arranged this workshop. Nightpipe is well-known for the technique she uses and has been called to conduct various workshops including in far off places such as the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in New Mexico. It’s not an easy task to take various plants and convert them into a whole new object. Most of the participants were novices who learned that it also takes  finger dexterity to weave.
One student said she stabbed the right side of her index finger with a needle during the workshop which brought immediate pain. So, the expression “painstaking” is a true expression in basket making.
Participants all agree that maintaining traditions is important for Indian communities. Now, there is a renewed interest in flat-basketry such as the ones made by Donna Nightpipe.

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