My name is Alberta Selina, a Hopi coil basket weaver from the Bear Clan of Shungopavi Village on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. Coil basket making has a centuries-long history among Hopis and has been a speciality of Second Mesa since the 1800's. Coil baskets and plaques are woven by wrapping bundles of thin yucca strips with a single strip of yucca. I have been weaving baskets since childhood. I was taught to weave baskets by two very important ladies in my life - my mother, Grace Vance, and my God-mother. These two individuals taught me the significance of our traditional Hopi coil baskets, as well as the knowledge of how to use natural materials to produce the various colors in my baskets.
Before I make a basket, I must collect the necessary raw materials. Yucca plants are hand-picked at different times of the year to produce the natural colors of green, yellow, and white. I gather wild tea to make the color red and sunflower seeds to produce the color black. When I produce a basket, I hold the pictoral image in my mind while I interweave the selected multi-colored material into a finished design. Most of my designs and colors are representations of Hopi cultural designs and deities, which end up incorporated into a unique and tightly woven basket. In addition to regular-sized baskets and plaques, I also make minatures.
My coiled baskets were primarily made and utilized for our Hopi cultural and ceremonial purposes until I began entering competitions and art shows several years ago. Since then, I have received many awards, including Best of Show, Best of Category, and First Place awards. Major exhibitions where I show my baskets include the Annual Basket Gathering at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona; the Southwest Indian Art Fair at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson, Arizona; the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial in Gallup, New Mexico; the Eight Northern Arts & Crafts Show in San Juan, New Mexico; the Hopi Show at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona; and the Indian Fair at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. One of my baskets is in the permanent collection of the Arizona State Museum and collectors throughout the United States and in Japan and Germany have purchased my baskets.