Learn to basket weave this summer

Published 12:30 am Monday, May 18, 2009

Last November the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians hosted a wonderful basket-weaving workshop led by Becky Walsh.

The class filled up rapidly and people of all ages had a wonderful time. In fact, they had such a wonderful time they said they wanted to do it again.

Well now is the time to sign up for another workshop! That’s right, you guessed it! Becky Walsh is returning this summer to teach another basket-weaving class!

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The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is proud to host a basket-weaving workshop by Becky Walsh Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14. Space is limited to 12 students on a first come first served basis.

Cost of the workshop is $60 per person and includes all materials and equipment for the class. Deadline for registration and payment for the workshop is 5 p.m. Friday, June 5.

Please make checks payable to Becky Walsh and submit them to Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, 400 Jefferson Davis Blvd., Natchez.

For those of you who do not know Mrs. Walsh, here are a few facts about this fabulous artist and teacher. Mrs. Walsh is a member of the Clifton Choctaw Tribe located in Rapides Parish, La., and the Louisiana Crafts Guild.

Like many generations of women before her, Becky’s mother, Kathleen Thomas, taught her to weave pine straw baskets when she was 12 years old. A year later, she sold her first basket at the Folk Life Festival at Northwestern State University. This sale encouraged her to continue in her lessons and her craft to become the artist she is today.

She and her mother have attended festivals such as The New Orleans Jazz Festival, Ducks Unlimited and the World Cultural Economic Forum in New Orleans. Magazines and small documentaries have featured both Walsh and her work as a basket-weaver.

Today people can see her baskets in museums in Louisiana, Mississippi and around the globe.

Mrs. Walsh has taught several workshops and other individuals how to make baskets.

As a participant in last year’s workshop, I know I learned a lot from her and gained a greater appreciation and knowledge of Native American Basketry.

Although the basket weaving process is a long one that begins with the gathering of pine needles in the springtime, this workshop will be relatively short.

It will begin at 9 a.m. and go until noon Saturday. The class will resume at 2 p.m. and end at 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information about the workshop, please contact Grand Village of the Natchez Indians at 601-446-6502.

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is a National Historic Landmark and is owned and operated by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Rebecca Anderson is the Historian at Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.