So I returned to the contemporary work of Cherokee artist Shan Goshorn, as she is also a weaver of medicine baskets which she makes in traditional designs and techniques. They are woven from the words of broken contracts, and the names and photos of children taken from their families and forced to attend boarding schools. “Educational Genocide – The Legacy of the Carlisle Indian Boarding School” was created with a Cherokee-style double weave, and was made from splints of paper that had student’s names and historical documents and photographs. The artist weaves together the broken threads of the past to create healing baskets that re-member and re-join.
My friend saw in her dream a woman wearing a mask that was a basket, the face emerging from the fibers of the basket. This image had meaning for me on many levels. A Medicine Basket is a container, woven of many strands, for Medicine. We can create Medicine baskets, sacred containers for the medicine that is needed at a given time, place, and for a particular person. We are also "baskets" ourselves, our intentions and histories woven into the container of life, day by day, strand by strand. Since it's New Year, I wanted to think about this mask, and another mask came to mind, that of Ilana Stein, which she called "Gathering and Offering" from the poem she made for her mask. I've told this story before, but after making this mask I felt it was perfect as we stand here at the precipice of 2013.
|"Basket Mask" by Ilana Stein (2008)|