Handwoven Antler Baskets

Handwoven Antler Baskets


Artist Statement

Indian folklore tells us that a basket was placed at the entry of each tipi with the belief that as you empty your burdens into the basket, giving them over to the Great Spirit, you enter your home cleansed and free of worry. It is in its emptiness that the basket becomes useful, just as meditation renders the mind useful by allowing it to become empty.

From the Mountains of Colorado and Montana, to the shores of Laguna Beach, California I bring my art. I have been weaving baskets for 20 years. Over that time I have created hundreds of pieces and mastered my style. My baskets are unique expressions of the ancient splint-woven technique developed by Appalachian Mountain Artisans. Each one is a sculpture combining antlers, which have been naturally shed from Deer, Moose and Elk. I weave with Indonesian rattan reed and braided sea grass.

Each piece contains the medicine of the animal spirit. The Deer antler holds the energy of gentleness, kindness and serenity, a reminder to handle life's situations with tenderness and compassion. The Moose represents self worth and wisdom. The Elk stands for strength and stamina.

Living on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana I was grateful to meet the most faithful gathers. On horseback or by foot, these men go out into the wilderness searching the mountains, valleys and river beds of Montana, Idaho and Western Canada for these treasures. In the spring these beautiful animals shed their antlers only to grow them again becoming larger and more magnificent with age. When the animals shed their antlers you are likely to find them attached to fences, buried in the snow, covered with brush, or sometimes they just magically appear in front of you like seashells on the beach.

Each of us is a sacred vessel. We carry the light of creation in our hearts and our actions project that light. My baskets reflect the sacred vessel in all of us; the weaving in and weaving out of light and dark, of fortune and misfortune. As I weave, I am reminded that light and shadow can combine in such a way as to leave truth and beauty in its wake.

My art is my meditation and reflection on the necessity of letting go, the awareness of being open to new opportunities and the worthiness that each of us contains.
You can reach me at 949-295-3150 or janetbjohnson916@gmail.com

Janet Johnson