Sue Coleman of Carson City, Nevada, is carrying on a generations-deep family tradition of basket weaving from her Native American, Washoe heritage. The daughter of Theresa Smokey Jackson, whose own mother and grandmother were weavers, Coleman takes great pride in maintaining the family legacy.
Coleman began learning in earnest through a Nevada Arts Council Folk Arts Apprenticeship with her mother in 1992. Since Jackson's passing in 1999, she feels an even stronger need to teach what she has learned. Coleman has since been a master herself in the program, teaching her own daughter to make cradleboards, winnowing trays, burden baskets, and the round gift baskets that are the hallmark of Washoe basketry.
Coleman has won numerous awards for her work and she has participated in Native American arts events at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2006, her work was featured in a Native American basketry area at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Seven years after her mother and aunt received Governor's Arts Awards, Coleman received one herself in 2003—another family tradition.
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