Ititamat Series, III

An interactive feature of interwoven3: New Plateaus exhibited at the Moses Lake Museum and Art Center is a community-based project, Ititamat Series, III. The use of  simple hemp twine and memorabilia reflects the many communities that have strung patterns on a community collective “counting ball.” 

For the last two years people from all walks of life, all ages, all races, all religions, all capacities have contributed to the Ititamat Series.  

Bullock, inspired by the tradition of the “counting ball,” explains, “I can imagine a woman tracing her inspirited time line with fluttering, eager fingers encountering a series of knots, a fetish and a bead prompting her memory for story telling. This act of reflection perpetuated narrative and history.”  

Apocynum Cannabinum or wild hemp was a common and useful material for the early peoples of the Mid-Columbia and Plateau Regions. The strong fibers of dogbane, another term for wild hemp, were integral to daily life and used in stringing fish nets, weaving baskets and tying lodge poles.

One particular use of hemp is similar to the modern day “blog” or “tweet.” 

When a woman married she would begin a time ball;  each day she tied a knot in a length of hemp twine to mark the day. To note significant days, a wedding, a successful harvest, or a birth, the woman would tie in a special token, fetish, bright bead or shell. 

As the string grew in length it was wound into a ball; if the counting ball became too large for portability, a second ball would be started.  When the woman died, her ititamat would be buried with her.

2012 © Dancing Wind Studio