Cherokee Market Basket Wood Handle

Item number: PYH 5509

This handsome single-weave Cherokee basket was twill plaited of white oak splints circa 1960's. It's called a market basket; its uses included storing grain, catching fish and carrying food. Over the last century, weaving patterns have been named for the weave itself such as “over-two, under-two," which is the pattern used for this basket.

Cherokee dyes are natural, sourced from roots, bark, and leaves and controlled by the amount of time the splints spend in boiling water. The natural dyes tend to be fugitive, often fading faster than commercial dyes. The color of the oak splints has darkened over time, except for the dyed green weavers, which have faded on the outside but are more vivid on the inside of the basket. The colored splints form a large open "X" on each side of the basket, a large diamond on each end with smaller diamonds surrounding them. The diamonds pattern is a Cherokee favorite to use for twill plaiting.

Inner sides of the D-shaped splint handle are notched just below the hoop rim to provide extra support. The rim is vertically wrapped with strips of hickory bark. The top is oval, measuring 12 1/2 inches long by 8 1/4 inches wide. The bottom is rectangular, 11 inches long by 7 inches wide. The basket is 8 inches tall; it measures 13 inches tall to the top of the handle. It weighs 3/4 of a pound and has the original price of $1.35 penciled on a bottom splint.

Cherokee baskets are very sturdy; this one appears almost unused, with no breaks, missing pieces or visible wear. Made by a talented woman basket maker in North Carolina, the basket displays beautifully and will become a family heirloom.

PYH 5509

Nancy Conseen

Cherokee Child's Basket North Carolina

Nancy Conseen

Cherokee Child's Basket North Carolina


This vintage child's market basket was woven by Nancy Conseen (1929-1997), one of the most noted basketmakers of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee in North Carolina. Nancy was born in Cherokee on the eve of the Great Depression and at the age of six learned basketmaking from her mother, Caroline Conseen. In addition to the many ribbons that she won at the annual Cherokee Indian Fair, she won state and national level awards. In 1981, she was selected North Carolina Craftswoman of the Year. The income from her baskets helped supply family necessities during the lean times of the Depression.

Nancy used white oak splints, some of which she colored salmon pink, dark green and dark brown. The basket has a round wrapped rim, a square bottom and an arched white oak handle.

There's a paper tag tied onto the handle with seals and certifications from both the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board of the U.S. Department of Interior (please see information on both of these below). The handwriting on the tag identifies the weaver as Nancy Conseen and gives information on the basket itself.

There is an additional paper card that was in the bottom of the basket when it was found that has information on both sides about the Qualla Co-op (as it's known informally). We used this tag, shown in our photos, to date the basket.

This small Cherokee basket measures 6 3/8 inches from side to side at the upper rim and stands 8 1/4 inches tall including the handle. The square bottom measures 5 inches long on each side. The basket weighs all of three ounces and is in excellent condition, with no breaks, stains or other damage and no wear that we could find. It must have been stored away all these years. This Cherokee basket is a rare and wonderful find for the serious collector.

*The Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., was founded in 1946; the organization rented a storefront on U.S. Highway 441 in Cherokee, North Carolina, shortly afterward. In 1960, they moved to their present location at 645 Tsali Boulevard. This basket predates that move and was made in the 1950's.

**The Indian Arts and Crafts Board was established by Congress in 1935 to expand Indian-made products and ensure they are marketed truthfully.

>>>Please click this link for much more history on Nancy Conseen:

Cherokee Traditions | People | Nancy Conseen (


PYH 5521