Ash & Sweetgrass Fancy Basket Workshop

with Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy

Molly Neptune Parker weaving.
On Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14, 2012, come to the Abbe Museum to learn how to make an ash and sweetgrass fancy basket with nationally acclaimed basketmaker artist, Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy. In this two day workshop, Molly will take students through the process of weaving an ash and sweetgrass basket.  First, participants will choose a basket mold from Molly’s collection.  She will then instruct how to weave the dyed or natural brown ash around the mold.  To finish off their creations, participants will learn how to make the decorative, colorful curls and weave sweetgrass.  Participants will leave with a beautiful basket of their own creation, and memories to last a lifetime! This workshop spans two days, 10:00-4:00 each day.  Both days are necessary to complete a finished fancy basket, but it is possible to make a basic basket if only participating in one day of the workshop.

Recently it was announced that Molly has been awarded the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, (the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts). Molly has been making baskets for over half a century; during the 1950s when traditional basketmaking experienced a decline in Maine, Molly was one of a handful of Wabanaki artists who carried on the centuries-old art form.  Molly has been a leader in preserving and passing along her knowledge of basketmaking.

 “Basketmaking, for me, is about innovation and creativity within the context of traditional art form,” she says.

Molly is the past president of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, and has mentored a number of young basketmakers, including nationally-acclaimed basketmaker Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy ( Frey received the 2011 Best of Show award at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market and at the Santa Fe Indian Market) as well as her grandson, George Neptune, Passamaquoddy.  All three currently have work on display at the Abbe Museum in the exhibit entitled, Transcending Traditions: The Next Generation of Maine Indian Basketry. 

Molly’s workshop will take place at the Abbe Museum, 26 Mount Desert Street.  It fills quickly and pre- registration is required.  Abbe Members: $75/one day, $120/both days.  Non-members: $115/one day, $160/both days (includes individual membership to the Abbe Museum). The cost of materials is included in the price.  *Please note that it may not be possible to create a lid and decorative elements if only participating in one day of the workshop.

For more information or to register for this workshop, please call or email Raney Bench, Curator of Education, at 207.288.3519.