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Children, students create vibrant baskets at Mathers


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By Sanya Ali



This semester’s Themester topic, “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet,” took many forms, including talks and exhibitions. The latest extension of the theme was one for the younger generations.

Mathers Museum of World Cultures played host to a Family Craft Day titled “Baskets,” a celebration of the craft of basket making and an opportunity for children and University students to come together and create their own to take home.

Sarah Hatcher, head of programs and education for the museum, said the basket making event stemmed from both “@Work” and the existing Themester related exhibitions at the museum.

“When we were developing our programs calendar for this semester, we knew that we wanted to do a family-friendly basket event, because basket making can be kind of complicated,” Hatcher said. “We selected some very easy and familiar forms that kids and families — or college students — could work with.”

Hatcher brought her daughter along for this crafting event. Sophie, 10, finished her Three Kings Day Basket within the first half-hour. Her rectangular creation featured curled construction paper flowers and a thick handle.

As she finished her own basket, she instructed other children on how they could curl their flowers like hers. She also examined her own craft and thought of ways to make it better.

“It’s a basket made out of thickish — I actually have no idea what it is,” Sophie said. “I just need duct tape for the handle. They don’t have duct tape, so when I get home I’m going to tape duct tape to the handle.”

After she finished the Three Kings Day Basket, she moved onto the more complicated Zulu Oops Basket, which involved a cut up yogurt carton and some yarn.

Many of the attendees were children like Sophie, but some were students from various departments in search of class credit.

Chloe Scherer, a sophomore, said her “What is America” class led her to the event, though she picked this one in particular for creative reasons.

“I saw basket making and I thought, ‘What a great way to utilize my artistic talent and to learn more about the culture of basket 
making,’” Scherer said.

Scherer, who came with a few friends, said she was enjoying herself because of the variety of crafts she could experiment with.

Scherer said she has experience with ceramics and drawing as creative expression, and participating in activities like these are great ways to relieve stress.

“I attempted to make the Zulu Oops Basket and I failed, so I thought I’d take my talent elsewhere and make a placemat with construction paper because, apparently, I can’t work with string,” Scherer said.

After the first unsuccessful attempt, Scherer migrated over to the placemat station and began work on a more familiar craft, which she created using a palette of fall colors set on a black base.

Though she said she had never been to an event like this at Mathers before, this crafting experience has inspired her to come out to future ones.

“I will definitely come back for more,” Scherer said. “Very friendly, everyone here.”

Events for the rest of the semester will include more crafting opportunities, specifically a couple with holiday themes. In terms of this basket event in relation to past Family Craft Days at Mathers, Hatcher said it feels pretty familiar.

“It’s more the same than it is different,” Hatcher said. “We want to provide an inclusive and interesting opportunity for people to come in, create and 
connect.”

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