“It has sustained our communities. Box 270 It’s there where the black ash basket maker gets her own materials from a nearby swamp. “It has sustained our communities. 17 m, Documentary Short, Canada. Our family harvests and processes all of our materials from the woods and forests of Michigan. Not flat areas, but curves. Mike was a Potawatomi elder with a deep reverence for honoring the ancestors' knowledge. Lyme, NH 03768   |   Visit the Articles archive…. For weavers of all levels. “I’m kind of taking traditions and putting my own spin on them. Fuerst mused that it has something of an oriental aspect to it, acknowledging that it “pushes the bounds of my collection, which is about half traditional nineteenth century and half modern. “It’s fun to play around with new things,” Sockbeson said. I have attended the Basket Exhibit and Sale in Bar Harbor since 2000 until the last few years when circumstances have not permitted me to do so. Now there are some 150 active basketmakers from the four tribes, and the average age has dropped to 40. Connect with this Organization: DONATE. Following his teachings, I honor each felled tree and believe the spirit of an ash tree remains within the forms woven from its wood. Black ash, Fraxinus nigra, grows in cedar swamps in the Great Lakes region, Northeastern United States, and Eastern Canada.It has compound leaves, rough grey bark, and a somewhat stubby branching pattern. I often use silhouettes as my inspiration. The tree has a unique property: once its bark is removed, the tree can be pounded along its length until the growth rings separate, producing perfect ash splints that can then be planed and split and resplit, producing pliable yet durable weaving material as wide as a man’s belt or as fine as dental floss. Hello! The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance is working with the Maine Forest Service and the University of Maine to find ways to slow the spread of the bug and to make contingency plans for when it does arrive. Many of the photos in my foraging slide show are of these ash baskets filled with native wild crops like Shagbark Hickory Nuts, Black Walnuts, King Bolete mushrooms, and even invasive species like Autumn Olives and Wineberries. But I came to realize that it’s an evolving art. “But this is my first Jeremy Frey.”, The small vase is tightly woven in black and white. “They weren’t making a killing by any means,” said Clark, “because they weren’t selling them for very much. The movie, “Black Ash Basketry: A Story of Cultural Resilience,” details Pigeon’s teachings and experiences making traditional Native American black ash baskets. We come from an unbroken line of black ash basket makers, going back many generations. The black ash tree occupies a unique spot in the culture of Maine’s Indian tribes. Many of her baskets feature deer antler handles. Satin Finish - For Large Baskets. Meanwhile, prices have gone up, with basketmakers getting hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for their works. Exactly how far back ash basketry goes is hard to determine. Advanced basketry kits . She strips the black ash logs of their bark, then pounds the logs to loosen the layers of wood. The Alliance began arranging shows and exhibits and helping basketmakers with marketing. The borer is in the back of every Maine Indian basketmaker’s mind, evidenced by the educational posters at the Bar Harbor show. They would work all winter to harvest and process the ash and sweetgrass and make baskets.”. Category Products. The basket he made, and I got, is so beautiful, however, that I can’t bring myself to use it outside for foraging - so I keep it inside and use it for a mail basket. Photo courtesy of Abby Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine. Photo courtesy of Abby Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine. Pounding, Shaving and Weaving Alice makes her baskets from high quality, New Hampshire black ash logs, which are supplied by her husband, a skilled professional logger. But there’s no doubt that the eastern woodland Indians took advantage of natural materials found in the woods – ash splints, sweetgrass, birch bark, spruce roots, or cedar bark – to make strong and beautiful baskets. The documentary explores the Anishinabe art of making baskets from the black ash tree, a tradition now threatened by the invasive emerald ash borer.A story of family, the connectedness of life, the value of traditions, hope for the future, and a spirit of resilience in the face of change is told through the voices of local Native elders and basket makers. It sometimes happens that a basketmaker will try something “and feel like they’re being super innovative” only to later come on an antique basket that incorporates the same technique or material, she said. While part of the evolution in basketmaking is attributable to borrowing ideas from other art forms and cultures, including other tribes in North America, another part is more practical: the black ash’s days may be numbered. Categories. The course Black Ash Pack Baskets Fri, Mar 19th, 2021 – Sun, Mar 21st, 2021 is full. The strongest baskets in New England are made from strips of wood processed from brown ash trees. Stories aside, there’s no doubt that the black ash (or brown ash, as it’s commonly known in Maine) has helped sustain the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Micmac tribes for generations. Course Overview. “Some collectors really, really like it. The first part of the class will be spent preparing black ash splint for your basket by pounding a locally harvested log. But the basket sold for $20,000 – before the sale even officially opened. Ash baskets paid for people to go to school, paid for clothes, paid for food. “Some of them never make it out of the workroom. Because black ash exists in pockets rather than scattered throughout the landscape, “some people are hopeful emerald ash borer may not spread as fast in Maine. Northern Woodlands As a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, she lives on the very south east corner of the Bad River Reservation in Northern Wisconsin. Bring your brown bag lunch, coffee provided. To show the shortage of black ash, she started making baskets out of venetian blinds. Note: Look for a lecture on black ash basketry on August 24 by local experts John and Johnny Pigeon of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. While black ash splints and sweetgrass are staple materials, more artisans are experimenting with others, including birch bark and the soft inner bark of the eastern white-cedar, both of which were once primary weaving materials. Traditional black ash and sweetgrass basketry with a contemporary spin. 16 On the Common Welcome to the new website. My journey began in the 1980s, when Mike Sagataw taught me the traditions of black ash splint basketry. The Gun Lake Tribe is promoting "Black Ash Basketry: A Story of Cultural Resilience," a film documentary that explores the cultural and modern significance of … Ann found healing in the rare traditional Iroquoian art form of black ash basketry. The group began putting on workshops for kids and created an apprenticeship program that paid master basketmakers to mentor younger generations. Black Ash Basketry Students will Learn how to make a black ash basket, start to finish. As part of that, “I’ve kind of made everything smaller. Photo courtesy of Abby Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine. Processing wood into fine weaving materials is a time consuming endeavor. There are currently no reviews/comments for this event. Thanks for joining the discussion. The revitalized basketry tradition has spawned a burst of creativity. They’re displayed in museums, including the Smithsonian, and in galleries and collections around the country. Great-granddaughter Theresa Secord continues the family tradition. The braided ash detail of a Jeremy Frey creation. The black ash pack basket: it's beautiful, highly functional and can be made using simple materials. “Fancy baskets fed into a Victorian-era fascination with ‘exotic’ peoples, and the basketmakers were pretty savvy. Fill out the form below if you would like to be placed on a waiting list and notified if an opening becomes available. His grandmother also wove baskets. Inside one of her other baskets modeled after an emerald Fabergé egg is a vial containing an adult ash borer and, as she calls it, “the bug’s kryptonite” —a flash drive containing “all of the teachings you would need to bring back black ash basket making if they were ever lost.” Black Ash is unique among all trees in North America in that it does not have fibers connecting the growth rings to each other. Elders weren’t passing on their skills. To ensure a respectful dialogue, please refrain from posting content that is unlawful, harassing, discriminatory, libelous, obscene, or inflammatory. Many of the designs go back to the early 2000’s and to this day, are still too popular to retire. In this episode I follow Jamin for a few days as he journeys from tree to pack basket using the incredible flexible and versatile wood of the black ash tree. We weave with Black ash, White cedar, Birch bark, Sweetgrass, Basswood, and make Baskets, and Birch Bark Bitings from the Birch tree. “I’ve always tried to develop my own style based on innovation,” said Frey. Because black ash splint basketry is labor intensive, requiring woodworking skill and access to black ash trees, there is not a huge number of black ash basket makers in this country. It gives more credence to what you’re doing.”. If I’m experimenting, I’ll usually do one and see what kind of reaction it gets. At her booth at July’s Bar Harbor show, Sarah Sockbeson snapped photos of her works with her camera phone before gently wrapping the sold items to send off with customers. Today, basketmakers are experimenting with new forms, finishes, and materials; they’re looking to other arts for inspiration, as well as back into the tribes’ basketry tradition to incorporate older techniques. (In New Hampshire, the trees are called brown ash and in other regions of New England they are called black ash.) One piece incorporated a raw piece of log with woven flowers on the basket and hummingbirds woven from ash appearing to sip from them. I tighten everything up, bringing the standards closer together and making the weaving tight. The idea for the film, its funding, its talent and its audience were all local. Classic lines and shapes—the foundation of the Cottage Style; Made with hand-pounded American Black Ash; Bases, Steam-bent rims & handles made by Eric out of Cherry ARTbreak is a weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions. “Each handle is kind of unique for the basket,” Sockbeson said. Note: Look for a lecture on black ash basketry on August 24 by local experts John and Johnny Pigeon of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Jennifer Neptune, a Penobscot basketmaker and the executive director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, said the tribes have a “special relationship” to the black ash. “You’re selling the purity of it. Photo by Mary Rankin. She also became keenly aware that her ancestors were there to show her the way. 521 E. Walnut St Scottsville KY 42164 south east. Gabriel Frey, a Passamaquoddy, weaves a basket handle. The Basket Maker's Tree. Alice has prepared the beautiful black ash splint for you, along with a handcarved white oak handle and rims. How wonderful to see the continued evolution in the quality of Passamaquoddy and Penobscot basket construction and design in such a short time. Some people went to college with basket money,” Neptune said. The craft was in danger of being lost. We don’t make art, but we do help make the arts thrive. Date/Time Date(s) - August 14, 2020 - August 15, 2020 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. And it’s been done for a long time, said Julia Clark, the curator of collections at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, which is devoted to the Wabanaki. This year he turned a wooden handle out of a burl and incorporated it into the top for a tall basket to take to the Native American Fair in Bar Harbor. I think natives, in general, have always used what they had available for materials. The premier of the one-hour, locally made documentary, " Black Ash Basketry: A Story of Cultural Resilience," says as much about the residents of metro Grand Rapids as the protagonists in the film, the family of Steve and Kitt Pigeon in Allegan County. Connor Zautke, 11, weaves a black ash basket as Kitt Pigeon, left, offers instruction and a cameraman documents the moment. I guess I get inspired from what I see around me and what I see in nature.”, Neptune admits his works draw mixed reactions. They saw what wealthy collectors wanted and tried to incorporate those style elements into their work. The work that the really good people are doing at this point is so good that I really wanted to be part of it.”. At the Bar Harbor show, she was thrilled to walk away from Jeremy Frey’s booth with a miniature point vase. George Neptune, a Passamaquoddy basketmaker and the museum educator at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, said he’s turning his baskets into sculptures. A brown ash “work basket” (this one for potatoes) by Richard Silliboy. Black Ash Basket Making. Philomene Saulis Nelson sells her baskets on Indian Island, Maine, circa 1940. How he comes up with designs, spends hours upon hours hand-weaving to get a particular look, incorporating porcupine quills, perhaps, or sweetgrass. I have a Great Lakes-style basket of uncertain age, probably of split ash (it’s signed “Ruby Lincoln” on the bottom and might be Menominee or Ho-Chunk). Full course details included above For Jeremy Frey, of Maine’s Passamaquoddy Indian tribe, weaving ash baskets is a family tradition. Sponsored by The Fountains at Bronson Place. More info B) Shaker Fancy Splint - Medium Weight - Satin Finish . A story of family, the connectedness of life, the value of traditions, hope for the future, and a spirit of resilience in the face of change is told through the voices of local Native elders and basket makers. For many years, I resisted the more modern basketry because I was into the ‘authentic’ tradition. It is said that Glooscap, hero of the tribes’ creation stories, shot an arrow at a black ash and from the wound in the tree’s bark people flowed out like a river to populate the world. “They were pushing it back then, too, in terms of creativity, with new styles and ideas.”. Brown ash is s finicky tree, usually growing in swampy areas and in small numbers. By the early 1990s, there were only about 30 active Indian basketmakers in Maine, and their average age was 63. Molds . Joe Rankin writes on forestry, natural history, and sustainability from his home in New Sharon, Maine. Instructor: Ian Andrus. A couple years ago, my mom (who grew up in Bangor) asked Richard Silliboy if he would make a “work” basket for my birthday,. Donations welcome. http://www.abenakibaskets.com/ Part 2 of a series of videos I made, Please excuse the sound quality. A slow-growing tree, black ash produces fibrous wood that is lightweight, flexible, and highly suitable for basketry. Black ash trees are uniquely suited for basketmaking, and members of Vermont’s Abenaki community and many others have made baskets from this tree for centuries. Frey said he works with different embellishments, including porcupine quills, a traditional material. About Black Ash Baskets. “I have pieces by many, many basketmakers,” she said. But Clark said the more avant garde basketry is drawing in new collectors who wouldn’t have been there based on the previous styles. Yakonnhéhkwen is a Kenyen’kéha word meaning 'it sustains her'. In 2002, the Emerald ash Borer was discovered in Michigan. At first, utilitarian baskets likely held sway, but as Maine’s cachet as a tourist destination began developing in the mid-1800s, fancy baskets – purely ornamental works – became important, said Clark. These baskets have stood the test of time. This is just the evolution of that.”, Neptune said much of the experimentation today is by younger weavers, though traditionally, Indian basketmakers have been an innovative lot. Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 203 Kalamazoo MI 49007. Tools Each basketry kit contains clearly written instructions and all of the parts required to make the basket (black ash splint stakes and weavers, rims, handles, etc). Steve and I are one of the few, if not the only, non-Native husband and wife team who involved with each step of turning a black ash tree into a basket. This miniature (3-inch diameter) green curly basket by Sarah Sockbeson incorporates brown ash, sweetgrass, and antler. How he turns wooden molds for his baskets. In 2011, he won best-of-show at both the Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest Native American arts festival in the world, and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market in Phoenix. A 2009 documentary captures the story of Gun Lake Potawatomi Tribal member, Steve Pigeon and his family. Black ash (Nigra fraxinus), also known as brown ash, is a tree that only grows in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Photo courtesy of Abby Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine. Thanks for this great article. His baskets are among the most highly prized by modern collectors. Sockbeson shares the Native American tradition of basketmaking with a new generation. They harken back to the feminine form, with a graceful sway and angles.”. Hand Pounded Black Ash Splint. Home > Black Ash Splint. Ash baskets don’t fare as well in terms of archaeological preservation as, say, pottery. She slices the antlers into cross-sections, then carves and polishes each one, drilling a hole through the center. Is lemon oil OK to use? Northern Woodlands assumes no responsibility or liability arising from forum postings and reserves the right to edit all postings. Black Ash Basketry Uniquely designed and crafted baskets from North American Black Ash, hand-pounded by Eric. But for some families it was a critical source of income. Sort By: A) Shaker Mini Splint - Light Weight - Satin Finish . ARTbreak: Black Ash Basketry: A Story of Cultural Resilience. I have used Maine Indian ash baskets for many years, primarily for gathering edible wild plants and mushrooms. | Terms of Service | Privacy PolicySite by eBree Design. Sockbeson paints scenes on birchbark that she incorporates into the tops of some of her baskets. Fraxinus nigra, the black ash, is a species of ash native to much of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, from western Newfoundland west to southeastern Manitoba, and south to Illinois and northern Virginia. This past August, he won best-of-show in the basketry division at Santa Fe. That is not traditional. Photo courtesy of Theresa Secord. Bravo to the success of the Maine Indian Basket Makers Alliance. Email Us Or Call: He has been making, creating and sharing the craft, and art, of basketry for over 30 years. JoAnne Fuerst, of Mount Desert Island, has been collecting Wabanaki basketry for decades. Photo courtesy of Abby Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine. "Black Ash Basketry: A Story of Cultural Resilience" is a documentary focusing on the effect of the emerald ash borer on Michigan ecology. Jeremy Frey’s basketmaking style emphasizes small, tight weaves. The material has gotten brittle; what can I use to preserve it? In addition to Frey’s best-of-show in basketry, former MIBA Executive Director Theresa Secord, a Penobscot, won first place and Sarah Sockbeson, also Penobscot, an honorable mention. Black ash is threatened by emerald ash borer (EAB), and basketmakers have been on the front lines of EAB research and response from the beginning. “I like the vibrant colors and I like the modern look on something that’s really traditional and natural.”. Students will work with a black ash log to prepare basket splints during the first part of the workshop, then trim the splints and pick a weaving project. It was basketry that fed our people.”. Accessibility Information: Currently, no accessibility information is available for this event. His creations routinely fetch thousands of dollars. Today, Frey’s baskets are avidly sought by collectors. Jamin Uticone of Swamp Road Baskets works with the trees in his swamp to make a living as a basket weaver. A lot of baskets would have matched the stuff in a Victorian home.”, Basketmaking became an essential part of the economy in some native communities. Presented by Kalamazoo Institute of Arts at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo MI, The documentary explores the Anishinabe art of making baskets from the black ash tree, a tradition now threatened by the invasive emerald ash borer. Indigenous Expressions Film Series: Ash to Baskets - YouTube © 2014 by the author; this article may not be copied or reproduced without the author's consent. These “work” baskets are rugged and durable. A story of family, the connectedness of life, the value of traditions, hope for the future, and a spirit of resilience in the face of change is told through the voices of local Native elders and basket makers. Weaving projects will be small to medium gathering baskets … He loves to share the details of how he collects ash logs, pounds them to separate the fibers, splits the ash splints. “The irony is that we’ve kind of broken into the art market scene nationally, and now we’re threatened with emerald ash borer that could destroy our resource,” said Neptune. “When you teach people, they’re more likely to appreciate it,” said Frey. Under the auspices of the University of Maine’s Senator George Mitchell Center, the partners are mapping black ash stands, looking at whether long-term preservation of harvested ash trees is possible, and saving ash seed. She then strips the layers, each representing one annual growth ring, off the log. (603) 795-0660, All content © 2020 by the Center for Northern Woodlands Education. © 2020 - Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. “They’re all slight adaptations on traditional methods I’ve been taught,” Neptune said. Here you can get to know a little more about me, learn more about the materials and everything that goes into making a black ash and sweetgrass basket. You’re not just selling a work of art then, you’re selling a tradition, a story. P.O. ADA TOWNSHIP -- Rachel Swem conceded it's … If not, what can I put on the basket to nourish and preserve the wood? Black Ash Pack Baskets. He learned to create baskets from his mother when he was 22. Frey tells people this when they stop at his booth at Native American arts fairs. Basket Making Workshops; Choose from 8 baskets during these one-day and two-day workshops with master black ash weaver Alice Ogden of Salisbury, New Hampshire. Tradition holds that the Wabanaki – the People of the Dawn – are the progeny of the tree. Whether you purchase a basket, attend a workshop or venture making a kit at home, you know you have a true American-made basket. For April Stone, a black ash weaver, the quarantine comes with great consequences. Right now all we have is hope.”. Feb 16, 2020 - Explore Ann Mitchell's board "Dream Weaver Basketry", followed by 245 people on Pinterest. “It fed us when there weren’t animals to hunt and the rivers were dammed up and we couldn’t fish for salmon anymore. You'll weave your basket over a mold in this two-day workshop. They’re also making videos that show “basket tree” selection, processing, and weaving techniques – a recorded legacy that could be used to bring the art back generations hence if the ash is wiped out and subsequently restored. Jennifer Neptune, a Penobscot basketmaker and the executive director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, said the tribes have a “special relationship” to the black ash. But in the late twentieth century, the popularity of Wabanaki ash basketry waned. The emerald ash borer has now been found in two dozen states, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and two Canadian provinces. Ash baskets paid for people to go to school, paid for clothes, paid for food. Photo courtesy of Theresa Secord. Sockbeson gives careful attention to color combinations and uses a fiber-reactive dye developed for dyeing textiles. “We have a deep, profound, and spiritual relationship with this tree, and we feel we have a responsibility to do what we can to save it,” said Neptune. Location The Basket Maker's Catalog. All Rights Reserved. Concerned about that trend, basketmakers from the four Maine tribes formed the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance in 1993. The 'Bold' version of the Salisbury Apple Basket has 1/4" ash uprights and is woven with 1/8” ash weavers (in photo above on the left). See more ideas about Basket, Weavers, Basket weaving. Others think it’s kind of crazy.”. A very enjoyable article. The documentary explores the Anishinabe art of making baskets from the black ash tree, a tradition now threatened by the invasive emerald ash borer. Other family members did, as well. 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