Fine Horsehair Basketry
Linda was taught to weave at an early age; it is as much a part of her life as walking and talking. The truth is she does not remember how or when she learned to weave. It is something she has always done. “A lot of people say I was spirit taught,” she says. She is what native people call a “contrary” or clown. Frequently getting her inspiration from dreams, as a contrary she infuses a sense of humor into work and avoids negative influences. Aguilar refuses to watch anything but comedy or love stories on television whilst weaving. As well, she will not weave if she is sad or upset, lest she weave unhappiness into the basket.
Her basketry is part of the permanent collection of outstanding examples of contemporary art in the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Her baskets have also been shown at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, The Stagecoach Museum at Newbury Park, CA (they have over 100 in their permanent collection), as well as many others around the world. When Nelson Mandela of South Africa visited Los Angeles, Mayor Tom Bradley presented him with one of Aguilar’s baskets; as well, The Dalai Lama has been presented with her baskets. Aguilar has won over 50 “first place” or “best of show” awards.
The Gaming Basket Collection: A series of baskets inspired by traditional gaming in native culture, as well as the games introduced by the Church and others.
Linda tells the story of Bingo played at home – “we never marked the cards; that would have ruined them. We used beans or buttons. My Mother would go to thrift stores looking for abalone buttons. When she found something with them sewn on she would buy it, take it home, cut off all the buttons and then re-donate it to the same store, button-less! That was kind of mean.”
The Whole Shebang
Natural horsehair, vintage bingo tiles, miniature dice & playing cards, dress clam & other shells, abalone buttons, glass beads & found items.
Natural & dyed horsehair, horsefeathers, vintage bingo tiles, dress clam and other shells, glass beads and the notorious abalone buttons.
From the left: Wishing for Sunshine, Whirlwind, Black Birds on a Line.
The Green Group
The Black Group, including Black Birds on a Line.
The Brown Group, including Whirlwind.
The Red Group,including Bingo Daze.
The Yellow Group, including Wishing for Sunshine.
Video: A TREASURY OF CALIFORNIA BASKETS. Tree of Peace Productions, 1993. Written and narrated by Gregory Schaaf, Ph.D. Linda Aguilar is a featured artist. TRT 49 minutes. $29.95
Wild cherry, willow, brain-tan smoked buckskin, glass seed beads worked in “crane leg” pattern around hood. Length 28-3/4; Width 11-3/4. $800
Gift Basket: Willow and devil’s claw
Two Gift baskets:
Willow with glass beads.
Left: Conical gathering basket -
Natural & sunburned willow, dogbane twine.
Center: Olla -
Natural & sunburned willow.
Right: Seed Jar -
Natural & sunburned willow, dogbane twine.
Left; Seed Jar;
Willow, Sunburned willow & dogbane twine.
Willow & Sunburned willow.
Top: Winnowing basket – peeled willow and redbud.
Below: Larvae gathering basket – peeled willow.
Three Baby Baskets:
From the top:
Full size, new born & toy;
All peeled & unpeeled willow
with dogbane cordage.
Preeminent among traditional California weavers, Mabel McKay demonstrated weaving and conducted weaving classes at PWT from our opening on October 1, 1971 until December 1988, after which ill health prevented. A respected tribal scholar and renowned healer and spiritual leader as well as master weaver, she possessed a sense of humor that both amused and enlightened. She lectured at universities, served as a cultural consultant for anthropologists, and as an Indian doctor healed many lives. As a basket weaver her skill and attention to every stitch brought worldwide recognition to her basketry, and her baskets found their way into many museum collections in the U.S. and abroad. PWT maintains a permanent collection of her work.
The year following her death, a book focused on her career was published by the University of California Press, and shortly afterwards a series of videos memorializing her and two other famed Pomo weavers was released. These publications are all available from PWT.
Book: MABEL McKAY: WEAVING THE DREAM by Greg Sarris. University of California Press, 1994. 165 pp. $29.95 Cloth.
DVD: POMO BASKETWEAVERS: A TRIBUTE TO THREE ELDERS. Part 3- features Mabel McKay – The People, the Plants, the Rules. Creative Light Production, 1994. TRT 29:00 each part $60.00
Jennie McCann Dick
Born December 21, 1941 - Yerington Paiute Tribe Roll #0421
Fashioned of vertical willow sticks. Girl/boy design is woven into the hood with red and blue yarn. Lacing and trim is made of buckskin. Length 30″.
Recent Basket Acquisitions Offered
Konkow Maidu Storage Basket
5.5″ high, 7.5″ diameter
Willow & redbud
4″ high, 5.75″ diameter
Willow, bracken fern & redbud
from the Dr. Balpitt collection
Fine Panamint Lidded Bottleneck
5″ high, 6.5″ diameter
Willow & bulrush