No one taught me to make my baskets. I used to watch my mother do it and when she put her basket down and went outside, I’d pick it up and do some stitches. When I heard her coming back, I would shove it away real quick and run away. I was a great one for sitting amongst the old people because I knew I was learning something just by watching them. But if I asked a question they would say, ‘Run away, Connie. Go and play with the rest of the kids.’They didn’t want us to learn. My mum told me we were coming into the white people’s way of living. So she wouldn’t teach us. That is why we lost a lot of culture. But I tricked her. I watched her and I watched those old people and I sneaked a stitch or two. I was about seven when I used to have a go at my mother’s work but I didn’t make a basket until after she died. It must have been 40 years but I remembered the stitch, I remembered the grass. I picked some grass and I went home and started to do the stitch. The first basket I made was a little one because I was frightened to do it. Then I went on to make mats. I think if my mother was alive today she would knock my head off because I have gone on to better things.My stitching is very tight, where most basket makers pull theirs loose. I put my finger behind and pull it tight. Everybody says my work is fine. I’m growing my own grass in the garden.I’m hoping for it to spread along the fence, and I just go down and get some whenever I want it. To make a good basket, patience would be the firstthing. And to pull tight for that tight stitch.
Genealogy is fun. Just as a piece of furniture or a picture takes on much more interest if you know its history, so does an individual become more real once the ancestral elements that shaped him are known. An in-depth family history is a tapestry of all those to whom we owe our existence.
An early ‘match’ was developed in 1828 by Samuel Jones in England. The device consisted of a little glass bead which was filled with acid and wrapped in a piece of paper. The paper had previously been soaked in special chemicals that would burst into flames if they came into contact with the acid, and then allowed to dry. To ignite the match, the user would break the bead with a small pair of pliers, whereupon the paper erupted into flames with a loud noise and a foul stench. Some adventurous types found it more convenient to use their teeth!