While some openwork baskets can be woven quickly, most baskets cannot. Often, the plant materials used in the basket must be harvested well in advance of actual weaving. Depending on the plant species needed, burning or winter pruning may be necessary to ensure long straight shoots and vigorous growth, or careful digging techniques to ensure long roots and rhizomes (underground stems). In the latter case, a sandy loam soil is needed for roots and rhizomes to grow straight.
Currently, access to native materials presents difficulties to those still practicing and teaching basketry and other skills. There are many stories to tell about a favored collecting site, sometimes used by the same family or group for generations, now fenced off, built upon, buried under the waters of a reservoir, destroyed by creek channelization, or bulldozed out of existence. Sometimes such stories are old, but they are also about the day before yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Despite these and other difficulties, basketry and other such skills continue within the framework of modern life.
Archives of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, “California Indian Basketry” by Beverly Ortiz in East Bay Regional Park District Log, Dec. 1988; “Indians of California: Diverse and Complex Peoples,” by Lowell J. Bean in California History, fall 1992, 1992, The Fine Art of California Indian Basketry by Brian Bibby.