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Ahousat, British Columbia, 1909
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Biography synopsis
Jessie Webster was a First Nations artist who grew up in the Nuu-chah-nulth community of Ahousat (also spelled Ahousaht), British Columbia. At the age of seven, Webster began to learn the traditional art of basket-weaving from her mother and other talented women living in her village. Under the mentoring of the late Nellie Jacobson, a fellow basketmaker, she wove fine cylindrical baskets covered with images of whales, thunderbirds and other prominent West Coast icons. Some of her works include nobility hats (also known as Whaler's or Maquinna hats) made of grass, which are worn by high-ranking members of the Nuu-chah-nulth community. Webster received commissions for these traditional works from the Museum of Anthropology in British Columbia, among others.
Media used
Basket making
File & Archive locations
British Columbia Archives
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
Black, Martha; Royal British Columbia Museum. HuupuKwanum Tupaat: Out of the Mist: Treasures of the Nuu-chah-nulth Chiefs. Royal British Columbia Museum, 1999
Carey, Frances ed.. Collecting the 20th Century. London, England: British Museum Press, 1991
Coe, Ralph T. Tradition Lost and Found. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1986
Efrat, Barabara S. Langlois, W.J. eds. Nutka The History and Survival of Nootkan Culture. Sound Heritage, 1978
Garvey, Charlene. Who Shall Remain Nameless? Makers and Collectors in MOA's Nuu-chah-nulth Basketry Collection. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, (Dec. 1993)
Hoover, Alan L.; Royal British Columbia Museum. Nuu-chah-nulth Voices, Histories, Objects & Journeys. Royal British Columbia Museum, 2000
Jonaitis, Aldona. Art of the Northwest Coast. Seattle: University of Washington, 2006
Kirk, Ruth. Wisdom of the Elders: Native Traditions on the Northwest Coast: The Nuu-chah-nulth, Southern Kwakiutl, and Nuxalk. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1986
Macnair, Peter L. and Hoover, Alan L. and Neary, Kevin. The Legacy: Continuing Traditions of Canadian Northwest Coast Indian Art. Victoria, British Columbia: The British Columbia Provincial Museum, 1980
Reno, Dawn E. Contemporary Native American Artists. Brooklyn, New York: Alliance Publishing, 1995
Stelzer, Ulli. Indian Artists at Work. North Vancouver: J.J. Douglas, 1976
Suttles, Wayne ed. Handbook of North American Indians: Northwest Coast, Volume 7. Washington: Smithsonian Institute, 1990

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