Talk, class by Julia Parker, Traditional Native American Basket Weaver

Press release

Renowned Native American basket weaver Julia Parker, her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter will be discussing the craft and art of California Native basketry at the Eastern California Museum in Independence on Friday, Oct. 21, starting at 7 p.m.


Parker Family Photo Caption: Four generations of basket weavers, from left to right, Ursula Jones, Naomi Jones, Julia Parker and Lucy Parker, will discuss the art and craft of California basketry on Friday at the Eastern California Museum. Photo submitted.

The event, sponsored by the Friends of the Eastern California Museum, is free and open to the public.

Parker has been preserving and enlarging on traditional California Native basketry techniques for most of her life. She has been the resident weaver in Yosemite National Park for decades. “Over the past 50 years of diligent study and experimentation, Parker has emerged as one of the preeminent Native American basket makers of California,” notes the prologue to “Scape the Willow Until it Sings,” the book by Deborah Valoma that relates the story of Parker’s life and her work.

A prolific artist, teacher and storyteller, Parker and her body of work confirm that “Californian Native basketry – one of the foremost basketry traditions of the world – is not an extinct art form … it is a thriving and vital component of cultural production in the 21st Century,” the book adds.

Parker is a master basket maker of the Coast Miwok and Kashaya Pomo tribes. She is a distinguished elder of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and a longtime resident of Yosemite Valley. Parker learned the art and craft of basketry from some of the master weavers of the early 20th century, such as Lucy Teller, Yosemite Miwok/Paiute; Carrie Bethel, Paiute; and Mabel McKay, Cache Creek, Pomo.

The Eastern California Museum basket collection contains about 400 baskets, primarily from Owens Valley Paiute and Panamint Shoshone weavers who were active in the early 20th century. Parker and her daughters will be using the museum’s baskets to illustrate their talk.

Joining Parker for the talk will be her daughter, Lucy Parker; Lucy’s daughter, Ursula Jones; and her daughter Naomi Jones. Thus, the discussion will present the perspectives and experiences of four generations of Native American weavers.

The discussion will begin at 7 p.m., Oct. 21, at the Eastern California Museum, 155 N. Grant Street, in Independence.

A basket-weaving class will be held Saturday.

Call 760-878-0258 for more information.


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