Taking a break from winter projects in the studio, Alice and I traveled to Orono to the Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market held at The Hudson Museum on the University of Maine Campus in Orono (about 1 hour 15 minutes from Searsport Shores). Curiosity pushed us to go on a cold, grey morning…but we had a greater plan…bringing Maine Indian basketmakers to Fiber College in 2015. We’ve tried several times in past years to make something happen by e-mail but nothing seemed to gel. Face to face was definitely the way to go and in the next couple of months expect to hear about new classes and more for the Fall.
The Maine Indian Basktemakers Alliance is made up of artisans from the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Indians. Each year they hold several festivals where you can meet the basket makers, watch demonstrations, listen to traditional music and buy original work directly from the artist.
Basketmaking has been an integral part Maine Indian culture for many generations. It was great to hear there’s an active apprentice program in place to be sure the tradition is not lost. It was also wonderful to see so many young basketmakers displaying work alongside their elders. We met Molly Neptune Parker from the Passamaquoddy Tribe, her baskets were museum quality, so fine and beautiful. It was clear she was a Master Basketmaker.
There were baskets of all shapes, sizes and colors, Birchbark baskets skillfully etched with intricate designs made by Penobscot Barry Dana, sturdy backpack baskets trimmed with leather by Gabriel J. Frey and sweet, colorful baskets by Passamaquoddy Dolly Barnes were some of our favorites.
There was jewelry too! We especially like the Birchbark and Porcupine Jewelry of Bonnie Newsom, Penobscot Artisan from Eddington, ME
We did a blog posting on the Searsport Shores Blog too…click over for more photographs.