The first containers allowed mothers to carry their young across longer distances; to gather more berries than they could hold in their hands, to store food and water for later consumption, and to gather fuel for fire. Containers allowed fruit to be fermented into wine, and milk to become cultured to yogurt and cheese. The ability to hold and store things allowed for trade, barter, and gifts.
Each culture, as they evolved independently across the globe, created and refined containers crafted from local materials. Baskets woven from palm leaves, grasses, and pine needles became lightweight and durable containers for gathering plants and transporting goods. Mud and earth became vessels, and became water-tight when heated with fire.
Soon, sand became glass, and earth became metals. Craftspeople from each era and culture refined and built upon the materials and techniques of the past. Containers became bigger and held more. Grain transferred from silos, to train cars, to a factory storage bin, to a cardboard box, to a plastic package.
Modern artisans are continually refining their basket weaving, pottery, glass blowing, and blacksmithing techniques, and I have to think that the poetry of the "vessel" is not lost on them. There's something pure about creating a little basket to store your keys or your potatoes. It's like revisiting a part of your history that is buried deep inside. Somewhere, at some point in time, it's likely that your ancestors were creating a basket to use in their everyday lives. When your life is full of little handcrafted objects like a handwoven basket, I believe it brings a connectedness to the earth, to the human race, to your personal ancestry, and to yourself.
Soon, I will post a tutorial on basic basket weaving. If you can't wait to get your hands busy with baskets, join us on Friday, February 10th for a basic Basket Weaving Workshop at Make Room. Register at http://www.makeroomfargo.com/class-registration/basket-weaving