Margaret Mathewson is a scholar, teacher and basket maker, weaving traditional styles since 1980. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, she did graduate work at UC Berkeley focusing on contemporary issues in the maintenance of ancestral ways among native peoples in California. She also did post-doctoral work at the Smithsonian studying old basketry collections and working with tribes to revive traditions. She continues to attend Western Native weavers’ gatherings every year and works for tribes in several states on issues of land management, access to weaving materials and ancestral food plants and on cultural resources education.
In addition, she teaches at Oregon State University and the University of Victoria, Canada, including the following courses: Native Peoples of North America, Contemporary Native Issues, Ecosystem Science of Pacific Northwest Indians, Ethnobiology, Anthropology of Art, Ancestral Technologies and Fiber Arts/Basketry Technologies.
Margaret works with museums, tribal and other, to identify basketry and to create exhibits in collaboration with tribes, focusing on Native plants and ancestral technologies. A resident of Oregon, she runs the Ancient Arts Center, a retreat and school with classes in basketry, food ways, spinning, dying and felting, hide tanning, carving, pottery, stone and bone tools and many other skills from around the world.
Her own basketry work is a mix of ancient and modern and reflects her studies of the traditions of Europe and Japan as well as North America. All her work uses natural materials.