Artist: Mary Black

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


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.