Today, I searched and searched in dumpsters, recycling centers, salvage warehouses, everything... I was looking for plastic rope. And it seems that everyone in all of the aforementioned locations was also looking for the same thing... Since I didn't realize how sought after this utilitarian fiber is, I had to head to the hardware store for the new stuff. Unused, but still utilitarian. I'm blaming the lack of rope on winter and the 4 feet of snow out on the streets in Boston right now. I guess I have to give in and go to the store sometimes!
I began by reflecting on my research images of these baskets, which were varied. The only feature that ties the wide range of styles together is a loosely conical shape, sometimes flat, sometimes pointed. I decided to make a true cone shape, with a diagonally twined weaving style and very little embellishment. This style, like the winnowing basket, was typically a utilitarian basket made for gathering. There is a beautigul image of one (I do not have this image, unfortunately) in Larry Dalrymple's book Indian Basketmakers of California and the Great Basin. It is a beautiful book, with very compehensive historical evidence and thorough discussion of living (and recently deceased) Native basketmakers of the region. It was an invaluable source during my studies!
The research image I've included is of a basket I found online made by a Pomo weaver - it is similar to the one found in Indian Basketmakers. According to this book and some sources on the reservation, the Chemehuevi style would have had a more open diagonal weave, but the material and shape are comparable.
I began to unravel the rope and wove for several days. The rope makes up the warp, and the weft is made up of plastic-coated Cat 5 wires. I've included an image of the binding process, which shows the open weave of the body of the basket and the yarn I used to create the edge.