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  • Cornhusk

    Does anyone do any basket-twining with cornhusk?

    I am specifically talking about Plateau style work such as basket hats and Nez Perce "sally" or flat bags.

  • #2

    [This message has been edited by Nightherder (edited February 06, 2001).]


    • #3
      That looks similar to the work I am talking about.

      Is that some of your work?


      • #4

        [This message has been edited by Nightherder (edited February 06, 2001).]


        • #5
          Maybe the picture on the right is bear grass?

          I am a beginning weaver. My work is not quite as refined as your photographs (smile).

          But, I am intrested in hearing tricks of the trade (using cornhusk).

          I always keep my eye out for a good deal to buy or trade for cornhusk work.


          • #6
            Howdy There! Iam a Cedar Bark weaver! I think the corn husk is twilled, like the way we twill our yellow cedar for the cedar baskets. I think the term is called Imbrecation(sp?)
            What sorta weaving do ya do?
            take care


            • #7
              Twined I mean!


              • #8
                There is an excellent article in the spring 1975/ vol. 9 no. 1 issue of Indian America magazine by Stephen D. Shawley on hemp and corn husk bags which may be of some help. There is also information found no where else in these 3 following books which you can get through interlibrary loan from your local library.

                Book 1 " A Time of Gathering" by Robin K. Wright, 1991 University of Washington Press,
                Isbn #0-295-96820-6

                Book #2 "Native Arts of the Columbia Plateeau by Susan E. Harless 1998 High Desert Museum/U of WA Press
                ISBN # 0-295-97752-3

                Book #3 Columbia River Basketry, Gift of the Ancestors, Gift of The Earth by Mary D. Schlick, University of Washington Press.

                By the way there is also a couple of fine articles in another great magazine that is no longer published, the article titles are as follows: "Rose Frank shows how to make a cornhusk bag" and "Cornhusk bags and hats of the Columbia Plateau Indians" the issue this material is in is American Indian Basketry Magazine vol.1 #2.

                In the article about Rose Frank she divulges all the secrets of making cornhusk bags! The whole issue is devoted to cornhusk bags!

                If you cannot find these items I would be glad to help you find them, email me at [email protected].

                I hope I have been of some help and encouragement to you in your efforts.

                Steve Gill


                • #9
                  I have been working with hemp twine and yarn or wool right now. I use the twining method. I haven't done any cornhusk work yet. One of my sisters has been the only one brave enough to expirement with cornhusk.

                  I do have some of the books listed in a previous post. The books really have good information on the history, different materials used, and a little bit about the revolution of the craft.


                  • #10
                    not related to Plateau style work, but I've done a little twined cornhusk weaving. There's a basic article on twined cornhusk bottles in the northeast (and simple instructions) at

                    I usually use either cedar cord or plain old jute twine for the spokes. Here's my attempt at a small cornhusk bottle:



                    • #11
                      That's fine work, your cornhusk bottle!

                      [This message has been edited by Nightherder (edited December 13, 2000).]


                      • #12
                        tprindle you did some very nice work

                        Is that done completely with cornhusk?


                        • #13

                          [This message has been edited by Nightherder (edited February 06, 2001).]


                          • #14
                            the twined bottle has cornhusk weavers (weft) and jute twine spokes (warp). I've done a few twined cornhusk baskets with cedar bark cord for warp, and only one basket entirely of cornhusks (cornhusks for warp)... using all cornhusks is tough because they are short and if they dry out while you are working with them they make for very brittle and unforgiving spokes (warp).

                            hmm... i hadnt noticed that the wefts slanted down to the right on that bottle ... i made it several years ago, so I dont know how they ended up that way - LOL

                            I'm a right-handed twinner, and usually half-twist the two wefts 'towards' me ... perhaps i was twisting 'away from' me on that bottle in the pic i posted?

                            Here's a more recent bottle (laid it down on my scanner), next to a detail of a twined bag that i wove... the wefts slant down to the right (as they usually do).


                            ps. it's cool that we can post pictures ... i never noticed that feature before, is this new?


                            • #15
                              Silly me! I always try to learn the complicated craft stuff on my first try! A few years ago, I sat down to teach myself cornhusk false-embroidery weaving from the basketry book mentioned above authored by Mary Schlick. Of course, I picked the hardest project to learn on- a Plateau woman's basket hat. I used cotton string for the warps and for the wefts that get wrapped with the cornhusk. I got a feel for the basic false embroidery technique although my stitches are uneven and not as tight as they should be. I've only done about five revolutions around the top of the hat. If anyone out there knows this technique and can share some tips, that would be super!


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