First used to carry items in nomadic times, then later sold as a way to sustain life, woven baskets have played a critical role in the history of human culture across all continents. While we may not have a massive need for them anymore, the craft of making woven baskets from scratch is still very much alive, particularly in cultures that have passed the skill down across hundreds of years.
Among others still keeping the craft alive is Stephen Jerome, a Mi’gmaq ancestral black ash rib basket maker from Gesgapegiag, Quebec, Canada.
Using skills and techniques perfected over many generations and passed down by his father, Stephen spends hours sourcing the right wood before processing it into usable strips to weave various basket designs with precise and calculated methods.
More recently, Jerome’s filmmaker partner, Heather Condo (with assistance from Wapikoni Mobile), profiled his solitary manufacturing process for her short film, My Father’s Tools. The film was an Official Selection at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Watch it here: