Fire Dance Basket (1990)
If there is one design that signaled the beginning of the creative explosion in Navajo basket making, this is it. As Twin Rocks Trading Post co-owner Steve Simpson notes, “In order for Navajo baskets to survive, [they] needed to change.” Mary Holiday Black was at the forefront of this change. In 1990, Mary wove Fire Dance depicting a part of the nine-day Dził Biyiin (Mountain Chant). Weaving a sacred ceremony onto a basket for the first time provoked some criticism in the Diné (Navajo) community. Mary was willing to undergo the scrutiny with the support of her father, a medicine man. In this groundbreaking design, six dancers hold sacred plants as they dance around a brush arbor made of sage and juniper. In between each dancer is a fire. One geometric blue line representing water marks the east.