Artist: Elsie Holiday

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


Spider Basket (1990)

Na'ashjé'íí Asdzą́ą́ (Spider Woman), who taught the Diné (Navajo) how to weave, would be pleased with this portrayal of a spider on its web. “I got bitten by a spider a long time [ago] . . . my grandpa was a medicine man, he made an herb for me for a spider and I drank it. [The rash] disappeared the next day. So, I probably was blessed with spider,” explains Elsie Holiday. Her Spider Basket is a wonder of ingenuity and skill. In a masterful weaving of a black and white jar she creates the image of a web. Sitting atop her creation is a black widow complete with red markings. The red top is also the handle for a removable lid. Notice the black overstitching around its edge. Elsie’s husband dreamed of this basket and drew it for her.