Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Alicia Nelson

Born in Shiprock, New Mexico, Alicia Nelson grew up in a traditional rug weaving family. After marrying Jonathan Black, she learned basket making from her famous in-laws. “Sally Black, she taught me how to take apart the material to get it ready for basket weaving. Mary Black  . . . taught me how to weave the basket. Lorraine and Jonathan Black taught me how to put designs on baskets,” Alicia explains. She is now an established basket maker with a reputation of her own and her work is sought by galleries and collectors. She frequently uses a single rod, rather than the typical three, which gives her the ability to weave very detailed designs. Vibrant colors are another hallmark of her work. “I work with a lot of different designs: pictorials, geometric, sand paintings, traditional, rug designs on baskets. I’ve done probably every design that I can think of,” notes Alicia.