Cano's Creations

Cano Ramirez is a native of Arizona.  I study and practice native American art and primitive technology.  I have been practicing and teaching this kind of native American art for approximately 10 years.  For the most part, this is all self taught.  My art includes working with shell, feathers, gourd art, pine needle basketry and Indian beadwork.

I have taught and demonstrated my art at primitive technology conferences, community arts and crafts centers, museums, gourd "patches" groups and area grade schools.

All my pine needle basketry is created using ponderosa pine needles and woven together using raffia (natural materials).

Examples of my work:
**  Added 10/30/2016  **
Clycymeris Shell - Snake and Frog Pendant
Clycymeris Shell - Etched Man in the Maze
Stone Frog Pendant
Turquoise on Clycymeris Shell Pendant
Horse Hair Baskets
Gourd and Pine Needle Desert Tortoise
Beaded Medicine Bottles
Native Shaker (Black and Red)
Pine Needle Hummingbird and Beaded Flower
Beaded Longneck Pine Needle Vessel
Native Turtle Shaker
American Flag Beaded Pin
Mexican Hat Pin
Champagne Glasses
Gourd Canteen
Verasite and Ironwood Pendants
Beaded Medicine Bag

**  Previous Images  **
Beaded Ladybug Pin
Gourd Bottom Pine Needle Basketry
Beaded Pine Needle Pins
Creative Pine Needle Basketry
Shell Etched Necklace Medallions
Beaded Imitation Eagle Feathers
Native American Chokers
Silver Split Twig Figure
Pine Needle Turtle
Beaded Pine Needle Earrings
Desert Scene
Buffalo Horn Desk Ornament
Beaded Necklace and Medallion
Pine Needle Cup and Saucer
Leather Beaded Bracelets
Margarita Glass Beaded Stems


Feel free to e-mail me for more information:

Links to other sites:
Wild Food Company - Books, Wild Food Playing Cards
Purr-fectly Herbal by Cat - Herbs, Herbal Products, Classes and more...
Willow River Wilderness School - Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills
High Country Gourds - Gourd Art by Judy Sullins
Backtracks - Primitive Living Skills Conferences
Flint Knapper - Larry Kinsella's Web Site
Earth Knack - Stone Age Living Skills
Arizona Gourd Society
Wuertz Farm

History of Pine Needle Basketry

Basketry made from natural materials is one of the oldest crafts known to man.  They were found in every country in the world where some kind of plant which could be used for twisting and woven into baskets.  In temperate areas of Europe, use was made of willow, rushes and others, but in hotter countries of the Equatorial belt, bamboo, cane, palm leaves and other plants were used.

Primitive man had but a few tools but they were still able to make things needed for survival simply by twisting plant material together.  The plant material they used was close at hand.  In time, they learned from their basket weaving to make their huts and boats.  They continued to use woven material to produce baskets and other containers.  In applying this skill and improving their basketry skill they turned to beautifying them into the wonderful art that it is today.

The baskets made by primitive man were, of course, used for every day use and with use, time and weather they wore out.  Enough fragments of these early baskets survived through time and enough for us to study and also realize how wide spread the craft was.

Coiled basketry is one of the earliest forms of basketry and has been found in many parts of the world. To this day there are primitive tribes in Africa and South America which still produce beautiful examples of this form of craft.  Many of these beautiful works of art are still found and are being produced today in North America.  For example, those made in the Southwest by tribes continuing their craft which has been handed down from mother to daughter for generations.  In much of their basketry they instill beautiful patterns, many of them being symbolical designs. 

The American Indians use more than one hundred different types of natural materials in producing their baskets.  Their baskets were used as part of their survival as containers for carrying items, food gathering, storage, water containers and winnowing seeds.  These are but a few uses.

Pine needle basketry, which is one of the oldest known, dates back over 9000 years which is before the crafters began making pottery.  Historical references do not indicate when pine needles were first used for basket making, however, due to the availability of pine needles in their area, Seminoles in South Florida are noted to be the first pine needle basket makers.  The Seminole Indians used a shell needle to sew bundles of pine needles together with fern roots, sisal or swamp grass.

Modern pine needle basketry is noted to have begun during the Civil war times (1861-1865).  M.J. McAfee of Southern Georgia began using pine needles that she bound together using cotton thread to replace a worn hat for her father. 

Today, pine needle baskets are most often created using the coiling technique, which is one of the oldest and most universal methods of basket making.  This type of basket is created by using a short sections of a drinking straw or tube with an inside diameter from one quarter to approximately 3/8 inches.  The pine needles are continually fed through the tube to keep the diameter of the coil consistent.  Coiling is then created by coil stitching one continuous coil of pine needles around on top of the previous coil.  The coil of pine needles are stitched together using various fibers such as raffia, roots, yucca fibers, sinew, embroidery thread, yarn or waxed linen thread.  Decorative stitch wrapping techniques are often used to make the basket strong as well as add an attractive element.  Some of the decorative stitching used are the split stitch, chain stitch, diamond stitch, straight wheat stitch, spiral wheat stitch, fern stitch, Indian wrap and numerous knot stitches.  The natural colors of the pine needles can be used as well.  By adding embellishments such as colored thread, buttons, beads, nut slices, pine cones, feathers and shells.  Just using your imagination to create this kind of beautiful art is never-ending. 

Living in the Southwest, I use the Ponderosa pine needles.  I find that they are much stronger and forgiving for the technique that I use in creating my pine needle baskets.  To stitch the pine needles together I use raffia from the Raffia Palm which is an import from Madagascar (an island off the east coast of Africa).  Raffia can easily be found in any craft store.

As I mentioned before, most pine needle basket makers use the coil method in producing their baskets.  Even artists that work in gourd art also only use the coil method.  My technique is different.  I have a different twist in the matter, and thatís what I teach in my work shops. 

To start out, I gather downed branches of Ponderosa Pine needles.  I then sort them out keeping only those needles which are longer and unbroken.  Ponderosa pine needles grow in a cluster of three needles and a cap or sheath which binds the heads of the needles in each cluster.  For most projects, the caps are removed or they can be used to embellish your project.

I gather the needles dry.  Some are then soaked in water until they bend without breaking.  If you want to pick them off a live green tree, you must still dry them.  If you use them green to make a basket, it will then dry and become very loose and you will be unhappy with your project.  If you dry the green needles in the sunlight, they will have a light brown and yellow color and have no fragrance.  This is because of being bleached in the sunlight and weather.  If you dry them in the dark, they will remain a light green color with a fragrance. 

Anytime you are done with the moist pine needles or the basket project, you should allow them to air dry.  Do not place the basket or needles into a plastic bag.  This will cause it to mildew and again you may be unhappy with your project.

Using raffia which is cut to 16 inch lengths and placing it into a container with water, after which the raffia will be ready for use in about 10 minutes.  After that time, spread out a section of raffia and split off a piece approximately 3/8 of an inch wide.  Using a #20 Chenille needle found in craft or fabric stores, thread the raffia through the eye of the needle, be careful because this needle is sharp.  I begin by wrapping the needle end of 3 pine needle clusters, leaving the cap of the pine needles in place, wrapping from the end for approximately 1 inch then run the needle through the end of the wrapped pine needles, as illustrated in the photo.  By rolling the group of pine needles, as you proceed, keep adding pine needles and stay with 5 clusters throughout the process.  As you continue, cut off the caps.  The caps can also be used as embellishments.  Photos will show some of the detail as I proceed in the process.  A lot of patience and inspirational thought goes into the making of a beautiful treasured basket using different weaving stitches and decorative embellishments. 

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