While being immersed in basketry and the inspiring artistry here in Oregon, some of us have been talking about the evolution of basketry, and our local love and use of natural materials. That basketry is not a common craft in this modern world is what probably makes it even more appealing to some of us.
A nice, short summary of the history of basket weaving may be found at http://www.thecultureconcept.com/circle/the-art-of-basket-weaving-brings-forth-bountiful-benefits:
Since our hunter gatherer days all humans on earth have required various vessels for eating and drinking and for gathering fruits, seeds and the various reeds and fibres invaluable to their weaving achievements.
Those that lived near rivers used baskets and bags woven from local fibres to aid their extensive fishing and hunting forays.
They were used to trap fish in rivers, gather shellfish from the sea and to scoop up fish or eggs gathered from nests of birds and waterfowl. And, as well as being used for carrying food, baskets could also be used for carrying babies.
Weaving is an activity the first human beings on earth did together.
Baskets are mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh*, a heroic tale from ancient Mesopotamia rooted in the ancient wisdom-tradition of humankind some two thousand years before the Christ event. Modern archaeologists have found a great deal of relevance to both ancient sites and cultural practices in its prose.
All cultures on earth have basket weaving traditions that date back before the times of Gilgamesh, which we are still learning about. Indigenous tribes on every continent, including Australia and America were involved in basket weaving.
The key to their success was an innate and intimate understanding of their natural environment, as well as their skills in designing nets, baskets and bags that were both flexible and adaptable.
*"You loved Ishullanu, your father's date gardener,
who continually brought you baskets of dates..."