By Molly Bryant, Puyallup Tribal News
The highly anticipated 2023 Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association Gathering is set to take place from Oct. 27 to 28 at the Emerald Queen Casino, hosted by the Puyallup Tribe. This year, twin sisters and master weavers Karen Skyki Reed and Sharron Nelson will be honored at the event for their lifelong achievements and commitment to weaving.
The gathering serves as a celebration of Indigenous basket weaving, showcasing traditional techniques from various Northwest Tribes. Attendees can expect hands-on workshops led by experienced presenters, using a variety of materials such as cedar and wool.
The NNABA’s mission, “to preserve, promote and perpetuate the traditional art of Northwest Native American basketry.”
Reed and Nelson have collectively dedicated over half a century to weaving. They have been involved with the NNABA since the association’s inception in 1995, in which Nelson nominated Reed to be on the board. Subsequently, Reed was nominated to be the vice president of the board and served for three years.
Reed described how she first became interested in weaving “I always wanted to make baskets. It was in my blood,” she said. “My grandma said I took to baskets like a duck to water.” She first started making baskets in her early 20s. She became inspired to learn to weave after many visits to her grandmother’s basket-filled home.
Reed was the first person to teach Nelson to weave. “I taught Sharron right from the get-go. She was learning it at the same time I was,” she said.
Nelson explained that one of her favorite aspects of weaving is teaching. “I used to love teaching and passing it on to others,” she said. “It’s important that you pass these traditions on.”
The twin sisters shared their excitement about attending the event, which is the first since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s nice to see all those people that you learn to love. I think the one thing I really like is seeing the kids learning,” said Reed.
For registration and further information, visit the NNABA website here: www.nnaba.net.