04/10/09

Frisco Museum offering pine-needle basket workshop

Creating baskets from natural materials is one of the oldest known crafts. Pine basketry dates back more than 9,000 years, before crafters were making pottery. For Hatteras Island Native Americans, pine needle baskets served many utilitarian and decorative purposes, and over the years, the creation of pine needle baskets has developed into an intricate and beautiful art form.

As a means of preserving pine needle art, the Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center will present a pine-needle basket workshop on Friday, April 24. The Dare County Arts Council is partnering with the museum through funds from the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council. The workshop will be taught by two master artists, Loretta and Herman Oxendine.

The Oxendines live in Pembroke, N.C., and carry on the traditions of their heritage through the creation of a number of crafts. Loretta learned the ancient art of basket weaving at a very young age by observing her older sister at work.

“Each basket begins with the careful selection of pine needles to ensure the best quality for the finished product,” she says. A basket may take from five to 50 hours to complete, depending on the shape and size. And because each weaver brings a special approach to the art, no two baskets are ever exactly alike.”

Loretta and Herman Oxendine have continued a generations-old family tradition which they have elevated to a fine art. Their baskets have been featured in a number of museums and have been sold in art galleries up and down the East Coast, including the Frisco Native American Museum gift shop and the Smithsonian Gift Shop.

The pine-needle basket workshop will take place at the Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p,m. The workshop fee of $35 covers the cost of lunch, as well as all materials for each participant to make a small basket. Since space is limited, pre-registration is required.

Individuals may contact the museum at 252-995-4440 or visit the Web site at www.nativeamericanmuseum.org.

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