Dancing. Drumming, Singing. Storytelling. Demonstrations. The annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration is both a great family event and an opportunity to support an endangered art form.
On Dec. 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., members of Maine’s four tribes — Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot — will both demonstrate making and sell their unique ash splint and sweet grass baskets, which include creels, pack, potato, and fancy styles. Among the latter are strawberry, blueberry, and corn-shaped baskets as well as those using detailed weaving patterns, such as porcupine. Also on sale are handmade quill and beaded jewelry, wood carvings, and birch bark work.
In previous years, the sale has taken place at the Hudson Museum, on the University of Maine’s flagship Orono campus. Because that building is undergoing renovation, this year it will be held at the campus’s Student Rec Center. Admission is free.
Demonstrations planned include brown ash pounding, birch bark container making, carving, and fancy basket weaving. The Penobscot Nation Boys and Girls Club will serve traditional fare including hull corn soup, fry bread, and blueberry desserts. And to round out the event, there will be storytelling, dancing, singing, and drumming.
Here’s one more reason to attend the event and purchase a basket. The emerald ash borer threatens all ash species, which in turn endangers this historical art form.
Did we mention admission is free?