Denna Dodds, a Karuk tribal member and 2014 & 2017 recipient of the Victor Thomas Jacoby Award, visited the Clarke Collections in the Fall of 2018 to assist with finishing a large open weave utility basket with handles.
She was excited to look at handles on larger storage baskets, as well as other connection points such as handles on baby baskets and other pack baskets. Denna was looking at how the handles were wrapped, how they connected to the structure of the basket. There is no right or wrong way for basket handles to connect, some are made up of the hazel sticks that made the body and curl back down to meet the rim of the basket. Others are woven separately and connected when the rim is wrapped in spruce root.
She chose a synthesis of different handles that were pulled from storage to examine in the end. Resulting in this beautifully woven hazel and spruce root handled utility basket. Denna generously chose to loan us her set of newly made baskets including an open weave tray and spoon basket.
Her baskets are displayed alongside a selection of other utilitarian baskets that were used to research handles. What is most striking is the brightness of the newly harvested and woven hazel sticks on Denna's basket compared to another handled utility basket from before 1900.
We are honored to be able to show Denna's new baskets alongside the older ones from the collection showcasing an unbroken tradition of weaving here in Humboldt County.