Landscape Vessel, 2001, Elsie Holiday, ET513.C-8
Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

New Forms

The traditional ts’aa’ (ceremonial basket) always takes the shape of a shallow, circular tray. While most contemporary Diné (Navajo) weavers preserve this form in their baskets, some have branched out to explore a variety of other shapes. Several weavers have created tall vessels, some with lids featuring handles and decorative motifs. Elsie Holiday beautifully portrays the shape of a face and Eleanor Rock mimics the form of a rug by weaving elongated, oval trays. Lorraine Black has woven several baskets with a raised center, like a hat, that represents a hogan. Both Lorraine and Evelyn Cly experiment with stitching objects ranging from arrowheads to twined figures to the surface of their baskets. Elsie Holiday demonstrates her design and mathematical skills by weaving the same pattern onto baskets of three different shapes, including jar forms, to create a matching set.