Karen Reed

Karen Reed was born in 1949 and is of Chinook, Skokomish and Puyallup descent. She graduated from the University of Washington in 1978. Reed learned weaving from her grandmother, Hattie Cross (Skokomish), and from Beatrice Black (Quiliuete). The influence of Anna Jefferson is seen in many of Reed’s baskets, especially the double-walled celebration basket known as “Wabutt.” Jefferson taught Reed the important skills of gathering and preparing materials indigenous to western Washington. She has been invited to participate in many regional and national gatherings of artists and basket weavers. The greatest influences in Reed’s life are her parents, Hazel Pete (Chehalis) and Bruce Miller (Skokomish); her mentors, teachers and friends.

Karen Reed remembers her first trip to collect cedar bark, almost 20 years ago. Up a steep hillside they went: her mentors–Fran James and Anna Jefferson–and her sister, Sharon. They pulled bark in 60-foot strips and bundled it on their backs. Bark is easier to strip in the spring–it lifts away slightly while the sap is running. Fran and Anna sang a collecting song as they went; Karen and Sharon watched and followed. This trip yielded bark that Karen used for years. The memories and lessons from it have lasted even longer.