One of the most innovative weavers of traditional and pictorial sumac baskets today, Sally is the third-generation of a famed basket-weaving family.
Her grandmother, Betty Holiday and mother, Mary Holiday, began a celebrated lineage of Navajo artists who revived the basketweaving tradition and lifted it to new heights.
Sally Black continues that legacy with stunning, award-winning work, as seen here.
Basket -weaving is one of the most difficult, and time-consuming of traditional arts.
The sumac has to be harvested, usually during the winter, when the plants are drier; then the stems are soaked, to make them pliable, and split into three equal strips, (using a knife to start, then the weaver’s teeth).
Bark and other materials are scraped off each strip, to produce thin strands, called splints. All this before the actual weaving – and dying, if color is desired – is begun.
Stunning in design and gorgeous colors, and expertly woven, this splendid basket is the result of many months of hard work.
Large, impeccably coiled, dyed in a lovely rainbow of hues, and beautifully designed, this basket is spectacular.
Radiating out from a seemingly white-hot center, the colors are expertly shaded.
The center resembles the sun, with successive bands of pale, darker yellow, gold, and orange, radiating against the final red.
Stepped “rays” of pale aqua extend from the red circle, against a dark blue background. Finally, there is an outer border of black waves.
The design suggests a rainbow within a sun, blending into the rain and watery symbols.
Stepped designs symbolize rain, and the light and dark blue colors evoke water; the wave motifs at the outer edge of the design are symbols of water, as well.
This is a visually gorgeous metaphor for the Navajo ideal of balance in nature: sun and water together will nourish all plants, including crops, and food for sheep and horses.
Tightly and evenly woven, each of the design elements is clean and distinct.
As beautiful as a painting, this will dazzle, hung on a wall, or displayed as a centerpiece.
Harsh sunlight will dim the colors, so keep it away from direct sun.
Sally’s work is in many major museums; now it can be in your home, too!