School of Art
BasketsBasketry, the oldest known craft, reputedly pre-dates pottery and textile weaving-in fact the earliest decorated pots are said to have derived their designs from basket-work patterns. Basketry was enjoying a considerable revival in the 1920s. It was on the curriculum along with cane work in the Department of Art and Crafts at Aberystwyth. The collection was for the most part acquired in two groups. The first, in July 1923, comprised 18 modern baskets purchased from Dryad of Leicester. At curator Sydney Greenslade's request they were gathered together especially for the Museum by H. H. Peach, co-founder of the Dryad workshops, demonstrating different materials, methods of construction and decoration in basketry from northern Borneo, China, Germany, West Coast Africa, Ceylon and from Peach's own workshops.
The Dryad firm was known for its fashionable utilitarian wicker and cane work furniture. Peach set up Dryad Handicrafts in 1917 as suppliers of handicraft materials and tools, and the Dryad Press to produce technical booklets, to meet the ever-increasing demand of the women's institutes and craft departments of schools and colleges. In its encouragement of traditional crafts and amateur handicrafts as a leisure activity, Dryad played an important role in the craft revival of the 1920s and 1930s.
Baskets, (clockwise from left) North Borneo, Native American (Cherokee), West Coast Africa, Alaska (Tlingit) and (centre) Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida)
The Peach collection was augmented in October 1925 by Mrs D.C. Davies, sister-in-law of UWA Principal John Humphries Davies, who donated a valuable group of 22 native North American baskets from the Pacific North West and Alaska (Haida and Tlingit people), California (Shoshone and Cherokee), Arizona (Chemuevi), Idaho (Nez Perce), Washington (Chehalis), and Oklahoma (Pawnee).
World Craft Collection