Weaving In The Salish Way

Who are the Salish people?

The Salish people are recognized by a lot of people as experts in weaving, especially in the Northwestern side of the Pacific. This race always knows how to come up with very beautiful blankets made of twill. At present, many have already adopted new styles and kinds of dyes, weaving techniques, and fabrics that allow researchers to study a very wide variety of Salish weavings.

Use of blankets

Back then, people used blankets because of ceremonial purposes. Whenever Salish blankets are worn by a certain person, that person is identified as someone who is very civic and religious within the community. In other times, honored people are adorned with blankets in order to distinguish them. They will be sitting or standing on their blankets, and sometimes even raise the blankets to accord for their honored status.

The use of blankets is also practiced to represent how wealthy a particular individual is. In fact, blankets are given away to the other members of the community in order to show prosperity. It is actually because of the high value of blankets that they are even sometimes used as currency for purchasing or bartering others kinds of goods.

Who are assigned to make blankets?

Since the earlier modern times, the women are the ones who are in charge of producing the blankets. In fact, even though they were still young girls, they were already trained by their grandmothers. Training started when the girls are ten years old, with a far more intense one once they reach puberty stages.

Commitment to the project

Although many believe that weaving is such an easy task, it actually needs a lot of commitment and could take such a long time before an end product is made. Those who are quite active with weaving are those who are oftentimes associated with some rituals or tasks for spirituality just like abstinence.

The name “Salish”

This name is given to those Native Americans who have a culture and speech that are very common that there is a noticeable relationship. The Salish people are usually found residing in the Northern part of the Fraser canyon, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, or in Aberdeen, Washington.

Woven blankets were distributed among those who attended the potlatch ceremonies as an indication of wealth. Whoever donated the blankets gained prestige, and thus, earns an increase in the social status. Whenever the supply needs to be increased, the blankets are only cut in lots of pieces so that more attendants can be accommodated with a gift. These gifts would be incorporated together in order to make a new blanket that is a lot larger.

Weaving techniques

The Salish learned many of the ancient weaving techniques and modified them to come up with better products. They would include twining of different kinds such as overlay, wrapped, three stand twining, diagonal openwork, slanting and vertical openwork, simple twining, openwork, plain openwork, and double twining. The most used weaving techniques are the twine, plain, and twill techniques.