psst! — A Stitch in Time

Palm Springs Art Museum looks to the community to save Native American baskets



Large Storage Basket, circa 1910.

PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM

Time capsules of Coachella Valley history sit in the dark, waiting to return to their days in the sun. Victims of time, the intricate stitching of woven baskets frays in spots. They slump. Their natural fibers are breaking down after a century of wear; and without immediate intervention, these once-glorious staples of Native American art could be lost forever.

Palm Springs Art Museum’s Adopt-a-Basket program opens the door for the community to help save these artistic orphans. For $1,000 to $4,000 a basket, a person or group can fund conservation treatment of these indigenous artworks and receive recognition when the pieces go on display. “I can’t think of a more wonderful way to save these for history,” says Native American basketry expert Natalie Fay Linn.

Earlier this year, when Adopt-a-Basket was still in the discussion stage, Audrey Schumacher Moe and her husband, Courtney, jumped at the chance to save a circa 1910 basket by Dolores Saneva Patencio.

“Natalie Linn had been here and pointed out the extreme importance of that particular basket and that particular basket weave. Because I find baskets to be works of art anyway, the fact that the [museum’s] Western Art Council decided that they would focus on basketry as an art, give it what it’s due, I had no choice,” says Schumacher Moe, who sits on the council.

Now numbering about 700 baskets, the museum’s collection is noteworthy for clear provenance. Whereas the art form is largely anonymous (works feature maker’s marks only), local collectors often dealt directly with such prominent local Cahuilla weavers as Guadalupe Arenas and Patencio and then donated their works to the museum. “That connection just doesn’t exist everywhere,” Schumacher Moe says.

These artists’ skill cannot be underestimated, Linn says. The elaborate designs were created during the weaving process. The handiwork took months, from collecting indigenous material to completion. “It was not done with a needle and thread. It was done with one’s hand, and they had to refine the material. That in itself was an unbelievable process,” Linn says.

To adopt a basket or for more information, call 1-760-322-4888.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Where to Satisfy Your Fall Season Sweet Tooth in Greater Palm Springs

The calendar says fall has begun, and although the temperatures may not reflect it, restaurants in the Greater Palm Springs area have created that fall feeling with delectable desserts.

Palm Springs Modern Committee to Host Annual Preservation Awards

Palm Springs Modern Committee’s Annual Preservation Awards Gala on Oct. 4 will honor contributions in preservation, restoration, renovation or adaptive reuse of a midcentury modern residential or commercial property.

Palm Springs Weekend: Peter Frampton, Diana Ross, Cinema Diverse

Palm Springs Life helps plan out your weekend in Palm Springs and the desert resort cities with concerts, events, restaurants, nightlife, clubs and the world of entertainment only found in the desert.

Explore Palm Springs: La Plaza Shopping Center

Still a thriving shopping center, La Plaza breathes life into Palm Springs' downtown shopping district just as it has done for more than 70 years.

Sean Paul Lockhart May Appear at Cinema Diverse Palm Springs

Sean Paul Lockhart's role in "The Dark Place", set to screen at Cinema Diverse Palm Springs Sept. 20, is another step away from his gay porn roots and closer to mainstream films.

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.