Working in traditions that have evolved over thousands of years, the Promo Indian basket weavers of Northern California have created one of the most exacting, sophisticated, and visually exciting art forms the world has ever seen. Their baskets range from storage baskets over two feet across to delicate miniatures that barely measure a centimeter; from rugged, open-work basketry traps that can be fabricated in a matter of hours to watertight cooking baskets and feather-covered gift baskets that might take months of meticulous labor.
Promo basket weaver Annie Burke began collecting baskets in the 1940s, and the collection grew under the care of her daughter Elsie Allen, a renowned basket weaver and teacher. With a native eye for aesthetics and value and with access to the baskets of family and friends, these two dedicated women assembled over the course of some forty years a collection of baskets astounding for both beauty and variety.
Remember Your Relations: The Elsie Allen Baskets, Family & Friends pays tribute not just to baskets but also to those who created them. For the last several years the authors have been uncovering photographs and information about the 26 known native weavers represented in the collection, giving us a greater understanding of their lives, an insight into their relationship with each other, and a glimpse into the remarkable communities and culture from which they came.
Remember Your Relations provides an eye-opening introduction to those not familiar with promo basketry and inspiration to those already acquainted with this exceptional art-especially those who are still carrying on its traditions. As Elsie Allen's daughter, Genevieve Aguilar, has said: "The work is beautiful and the workmanship is just like not other. I don't want the culture to fade, and by exhibiting the baskets I think it will continue."
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