Weavers From Two Cultures Will Meet at Library Event

The Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library at the University of California, Merced, will play host to a new cultural event highlighting the history, culture and art of basket weaving from both sides of the Pacific.

The event takes place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in The Lantern on the first floor of the library. In an unprecedented way, it brings together two different cultures that share an art.

Julia Parker, who is Kashaya Pomo (her Native American lineage) and a cultural interpreter with the Indian Cultural Program at Yosemite National Park, will speak about and demonstrate the craft of basket weaving in the California Indian traditions.

Takeo Tanabe, whose art name, Shōchiku, means "Little Bamboo," is, at 33, the youngest of the longest continuous lineage of Japanese bamboo artists. He will talk about his family traditions and techniques as well as demonstrate bamboo preparation and plaiting techniques.

Tanabe is visiting the United States in conjunction with the exhibit at the Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art at the Clark Center, "The Tanabe Family: Four Generations of Bamboo Artists." Ranging from traditional baskets woven for flower arrangements and tea ceremonies to abstract sculptures of plaited bamboo, the exhibit is on view at the institute through Dec. 2. It presents more than 40 works by master artists of the Tanabe line, more than half borrowed from private collections in the U.S. and Japan. The UC Merced library and the Lee Institute are collaborating on a number of projects, including digitizing the museum's collections and the cataloging books in the Clark Center's library.

Parker has been a cultural interpreter at Yosemite National Park for more than 40 years. She studied weaving with her husband's grandmother, Lucy Telles, a Mono Lake Paiute who demonstrated the craft at Yosemite Museum, as well as other weavers including Carrie Bethel, Minnie Mike, Ida Bishop and Elsie Allen. Parker primarily practices the traditions of her husband's family - Yosemite Miwok, Miwok and Pauite - and weaves Pomo style. Examples of her work can be found at the Smithsonian and in the Queen of England's collection.

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