Mar 19, 2019
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The story of a woman’s year-long journey to share her culture’s traditions

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Lois Connor was continuously filmed throughout the span of a year, weaving an intricate traditional Native American gambling basket. The video debuted at the Henry Madden Library in 2009 and is still on display today. Matt Vieira / The Collegian

Walking past the Henry Madden Library, students are confronted by an unexpected sight – a 40-foot-tall video of a woman in red weaving a basket.

Patty Calbillo, a junior majoring in food and nutrition, said when she first saw the video she didn’t know what to make of it.

“I just think it’s kind of neat,” Calbillo said. “I’m just wondering why it’s up there, but it looks pretty cool.”

The story behind the continuous video is of a woman sharing her dedication, drive and determination with students.

The weaver in the film is Lois Connor, a 30-year veteran of basket weaving. It took more than a year to make. Playing 24 hours a day, it is the longest performance art film ever made.

The video screen debuted in 2009.

“The basket itself takes 11 months of eight hours a day, five days a week,” Connor said. “I couldn’t always work when I wanted to because they wanted to film every stitch.”

Students and the campus community can see the basket in various states of completion. When the basket is complete, the video simply starts again from the beginning over the span of the academic school year.

“I think the students gain an appreciation of how long it takes to make a basket, and I have an appreciation for how long it takes them to get an education,” Connor said. “So I think it’s a pretty cool balance. I think we can relate to one another.

“I see all the time that the students spend in that library studying, and I’m just right there next to them working along.”

Marcie Morrison, director of development for the library, said the video is called “Weaving” by Susan Narduli.

“It’s a nice piece of award-winning art that adds a tranquil and relaxing feel to the peace garden,” Morrison said.

In the video, Connor, who is a member of the North Fork Mono Tribe, is making a Native American gambling basket. This type of basket was traditionally used for dice games. The basket in the video features intricate patterns such as rattlesnakes, diamonds, quails, lightening, ants, water skimmers, flies and people.

The basket has approximately 113 coils, 16 stitches per inch, and changes colors, which is why it takes so long to complete.

The video project was funded by Table Mountain Rancheria and was the first of its kind in the United States, using state of the art Mediamesh technology now commonly used for sporting events and advertising.

“Weaving” was selected by the nonprofit Americans for the Arts as one of the Best Public Art Projects of 2010. The organization recognized the most exemplary, innovative public art work created or debuted in 2009 in the United States and Canada.

Jesse Franz contributed to this report.

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