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Great Basin Basketmakers show their stuff at library

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Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ Eileen Brilliant, a member of the Great Basin Basketmakers, arranges a basket display in the showcase at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library. The baskets may be viewed throughout September.
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An exhibit of baskets created by members of the Great Basin Basketmakers will be on display through Sept. 30 at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library, 1000 Rufus Allen Blvd. The “Baskets Now” exhibit may be viewed in the lobby of the library from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Reno has been the home of Great Basin Basketmakers for the past 20 years. It is an active group of 200 members, who meet as often as three times a month to make baskets, exchange information, and enjoy lectures from other experts in the field. The group meets the first Thursday of each month for business and a short program or presentation. The third Thursdays are set aside for workshops, where members teach techniques or styles they have learned elsewhere.

There is also a third Saturday workshop so working people can attend, although everyone is welcome. Three visiting instructors are brought in each year to teach special skills and styles. In addition, a member hosts a monthly “weave-in” at her home, where members can come together for a potluck and give or get help with a project.



“We are a hands-on organization. Our main purpose is to make baskets and to learn everything possible about the traditions and techniques of basketry and to pass that knowledge along to others,” said Eileen Brilliant.

“In our effort to educate the greater community, we exhibit several times a year in galleries and public institutions and frequently demonstrate at parks and public gatherings. We will give workshops anytime we are invited.”



Brilliant, a 17-year resident of South Lake Tahoe, has been a member of Great Basin Basketweavers for eight years. She is the coordinator of special workshops and a member of the board of directors.

“Weaving is a very peaceful activity for me, and I especially enjoy using natural materials that I have grown in my yard or gathered by the side of the road. With great wonderment I can twist these and twine them into a vessel of great beauty and practicality,” Brilliant said.

The Great Basin Basketmakers conducted their first exhibit this year from May 7 to Aug. 11 at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. When it was assembled, the variety of techniques and styles was astonishing. They brought in Jackie Abrams, an internationally known basket maker from Vermont, for a three-day workshop. During that time they hosted two weaving demonstrations as well as two basket making workshops featuring regional materials.

Great Basin Basketmakers produces a monthly newsletter that keeps its members in touch with each other and what is going on in the guild. “Weaving Naturally in the Great Basin,” a book about the variety of natural materials available in our area and how to use them, was recently published and is carried by Neighbors Bookstore, where there will be a booksigning and weaving demonstration at 2 p.m. Oct. 14.

“This is an exciting time to be involved in basketry when the art is exploding into myriad different shapes and styles using a diversity of materials. Since Lake Tahoe is part of the Great Basin we wanted to bring this exhibit to our local library for your interest and enjoyment of the very now art of basketry,” Brilliant said.

For information about membership or classes call Brilliant at(530) 544-5145.


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