May 28, 2024

Free event celebrates cultural artistry

The Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration is the basket event of the year, as the handwork and artistry of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot take center stage. Having the opportunity to home in on the delicate scent of sweet grass used in Indian basket making and to view basket artistry at its best are only two of the many reasons to attend the event.

The sale draws attendees from throughout Maine and New England, and is of particular interest to collectors of baskets seeking yet another beautifully fashioned item for their collections, and those who want to acquire baskets made by highly skilled artisans.

The event is set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center, University of Maine. It also offers the opportunity for the public to learn about Maine Indian culture and history, featuring demonstrations of basket making, carving and birch-bark work, and traditional music and storytelling. More than 40 artists will display and sell baskets they have fashioned by hand using techniques passed down through the generations. Those who attend the event will find creels, pack baskets, potato baskets, baskets in fanciful shapes, porcupine quill jewelry, woodcarving and items made of birch bark.

Admission to the sale and demonstration is free.

Members of the Penobscot Nation Boys and Girls Club will serve traditional foods such as hull corn soup, fry bread and desserts made with blueberries.

Traditional drumming and dancing also will be part of the day.

As it has done for the last 15 years, the University of Maine Hudson Museum will sponsor the event.

The schedule for the day is:

. 9 a.m. – Event opens to the public.

. 9:30 a.m. – Welcome with Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis and traditional greeting songs with Watie Akins of the Penobscot Nation.

. 10-11:30 a.m. – Book-signing with Kathleen Mundell author of “North by Northeast: Wabanaki, Akwesasne Mohawk and Tuscarora Traditional Arts.”

. 10 a.m. – Brown ash pounding and work basket demonstration with Micmac Eldon Hanning.

. 10:30 a.m. – Birch-bark container demonstration and talk on maple sugaring with former Penobscot Chief Barry Dana.

. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. – Traditional foods, featuring hull corn soup, fry bread and blueberry desserts. Food sales benefit the Penobscot Nation Boys and Girls Club.

. Noon – Traditional Penobscot songs with Penobscot Kelly Demmons.

. 1 p.m. – Storytelling with John Bear Mitchell of the Penobscot Nation.

. 1:30 p.m. – Carving demonstration with Eric Sappier and Joe “Hugga” Dana, both Penobscots.

. 2 p.m. – Fancy basket demonstration with Stuart Tomah, a Passamaquoddy.

. 2:30-4 p.m. – Burnurwurbskek Singers drumming, singing and dancing.

. 4 p.m. – Drawing for the Hudson Museum Friends Maine Indian basket raffle. This year’s basket is a traditionally decorated birch-bark container crafted by Barry Dana, a birch-bark artist. Raffle tickets are $5 each and will be available the day of the basket show and sale.

More information about the Hudson Museum and its programs is available at or call 581-1904.

To learn more about Maine Indian basket making visit these Web sites:





. If you are trying to crochet the cap according to instructions in my column of Nov. 25 and the cap doesn’t come out right, that’s because Round 7 has a glitch in it. It should read: Ch 1, work sc in slipstitch and in each of next two sts, * 2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 stitches,* repeat from star around – 60 sts.

. Interweave announced on Dec. 2 that it has acquired, a Web site for those who love to crochet. A visit to the site yields access to many free patterns, including basic fingerless mitts.


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