Blackberry Gift Shop

Cynthia Head

Cynthia is a retired High School teacher and a life long artist.  She taught history, economics, government, and street law, in Florida for nearly 20 years, when teaching jobs were scarce in Vancouver. 

 She graduated from SFU and UBC, undergrad in history and masters in Education. Through the years  she has also taken a myriad of art courses and workshops - always a brush, needle or fabric in her hands.

 It was one of her watercolor students that taught her to weave pineneedle baskets; she has since studied with Nadine Spier, a famous weaver whose work has been exhibited  in the Smithsonian.

 About the baskets:

Each of these is made by hand with over 4,000 needles.  Using waxed cotton thread, each row is  stitched around and around for desired size and shape. At first the challenge is to create a basket that is even and balanced -  later, the challenge is to create in a more intuitive and abstract way.

Centers -  are made with natural objects like stones, fossils, shells, and any appropriate found objects. Recycling found objects beyond their original use, make interesting original baskets. 

Needles - these are from the Long Leaf Yellow Pine tree which grows primarily in the south eastern US states. At 12 - 18 inches long they are especially suited for weaving. ( Something ancient native people knew.  Baskets hundreds of years old,  made from these pines by indigenous people , and have appeared all over the historical extensive trade route in North America. ) Not just any needle will do. They must be harvested after just falling or green. Today some have glycerin and dye added.

Cynthia's artistic odyssey has joined with her academia in a geeky historian way.  It's not hard to imagine  women from ancient tribes making baskets, in the same way,  producing an object of function and beauty.   


You can contact her at:

my . artist run website