By Jan Ballard
MSU Extension Service, Choctaw Co
In a time when new electronic inventions appear daily, almost hourly, is it ever good to look to the past? Is the Bible true when it says there is “nothing new under the sun”? Some things that were made by early man have proven to be just as good and just as valuable as they were thousands of years ago.
There are scholars who believe that early societies may have learned the art of basket making even before forming pottery. People have long had the ability to adapt to surroundings and to think of and find ways to be productive. What could be better to carry early food, or building or hunting materials, or belongings from place to place than a basket? Even early “water travel”, such as Moses in the Nile, was by basket (according to the Bible). Many of the materials and techniques for basket weaving are
as modern and current in 2014 as they were thousands of years ago.
On May 8th, 9th and 10th Catherine Williams led a basket weaving workshop for local residents, sponsored by the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Choctaw County. Participants met in the county 4-H Building for three 2-hour sessions to produce a market basket. They were able to compare a few different reed shapes (flat, round and flat oval), as well as talk about the dying process. Some things are not new under the sun; one still has to have soaked reeds; one still has to cut pieces to size and lay the base; one still has to weave the sides; and one still has to be able to attach a handle and finish the edges. Different materials, patterns, styles, and weaving techniques can be applied, but the basics remain the same.
If there is enough interest, Ms Williams will be offering a five-day (3:00-5:00 pm daily) workshop the week of July 21st, to learn more about basket weaving and to produce both a basket tote and a catshead basket. (There will be a charge to cover the cost of materials) If you would be interested in participating or have questions, please contact Juli Hughes at the Extension Service at 662-285-6337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.