Charlotte Carpenter has been weaving baskets for over 40 years and is a teacher of traditional basket weaving. She uses the traditional weaving materials of bog (swamp) grass and cedar bark.
Charlotte is originally from Bella Bella, BC. The village of Bella Bella, with a population of 1400, is located on Campbell Island, north of Vancouver Island and is home to the Heiltsuk First Nation. Charlotte married into the Toquaht Nation and lives on Vancouver Island in Port Alberni with her husband.
When Charlotte was a young woman she was intrigued by the art of weaving and spent many hours watching the late Emma and Mary McKay weave their baskets out of bog grass. She had to learn when and how to pick, cut, preserve, store, and dye the grasses before learning the techniques of basket weaving.
Each grass takes at least one week to 10 days to pick, clean, size and dry. Charlotte will do at least three or four picking for the different sizes of grass. The grass is sun bleached until white and then colored with a special dye, purchased in the United States.