Suquamish weaver brings history alive at BARN

Ed Carriere specializes in Coast Salish baskets

SUQUAMISH — Coast Salish artistic techniques have been handed down through generations by dedicated artists. Wood carving, basket weaving and canoe building all owe their continued practice to modern-day disciples who have, through hard work, diligence and study, brought ancient methods of creation into modern times.

One such keeper of the flame will light up the stage at the new Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (8890 Three Tree Lane) at 6:30 p.m. June 9.

Suquamish elder Ed Carriere is a master basket weaver specializing in the creation of Coast Salish basketry.

He is especially renowned for his clam baskets — open-weave baskets made with finely split and carved branches and roots of the western red cedar tree. He and his work have been the subject of numerous films, books and articles, and many of his students have gone on to become master weavers and cultural educators of note.

“Ed’s insatiable appetite for learning the science contained within the traditional cultural arts he practices makes it hard for me to believe he is an octogenarian,” said Melinda West, Carriere’s friend and longtime student.

“Ed and I have found the traditional art form of weaving with plants, or plant fiber technology, to be an inexhaustible way of learning about everything in the world around us, the world within us and even to embolden us to come out of our studios to teach, make films and, on occasion, to give public presentations.”

Carriere is otherwise not exactly a chatty guy, West said.

Not to say he’s not an incredibly friendly fellow, just shy.

“I believe [those are] the type of people that gravitate and ultimately find their voices through practicing some type of visual art,” she said.

Even so, Carriere is no stranger to the public eye. Most recently, West said, a three-year collaboration with archaeologist Dale Croes has drawn him into the world of academia.

“Ed and Dale have co-authored a paper for the Society for American Archaeology and have been presenting their findings at national and international conferences,” she said. “Ed and Dale are at the forefront of what may be called ‘Indigenous Archaeology,’ a wholistic, culturally inclusive method of gaining knowledge from artifacts.”

During the BARN presentation, Carriere will share how the traditional craft of weaving with native plants, taught to him by his great-grandmother Julia Jacobs, has taken him on a journey of learning around the world. Two short films that share his work will be shown, interspersed with Carriere’s own recounting of his recent work with Croes.

Also on display will be examples of Carriere’s work, physical testaments to more than 30 years of study and practices and 200 generations of weaving knowledge.

West will act as program host.

Event registration is now open. The cost to attend is $5 for BARN members, $10 for nonmembers. Visit to register and learn more.

— Luciano Marano is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at lma