Terrol Johnson, Tristan Reader, Co-founders of Tohono O'odham Community Action

Basket Materials

Tohono O'odham baskets are handmade using the native plants of the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona. No dyes are used on Tohono O'odham baskets; weavers rely solely on the natural colors of desert plants. Sustainably collecting, growing and preparing these natural fibers require respect for and knowledge about the natural world. Before a weaver places the first stitch, she has to spend countless hours harvesting and preparing her materials.

 

 

Beargrass

The coil - or warp - of the basket is made of beargrass, a long, narrow green grass with razor sharp edges and a flowing stalk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White & Green Yucca

Yucca Elata is used to create the white and green stitches - or weft - of each basket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devil's Claw

The black stictches are made from Devil's Claw, a cultivated plant whose pod dries to a naturally black color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few of the most traditional baskets still use desert willow and cattail. Miniature baskets are often made out of horsehair.