Contact: Gretchen Faulkner, 581-1901; George Manlove, 581-3756
ORONO — The Hudson Museum at the University of Maine will host its 11th annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The day is a celebration of traditional arts and cultures of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people of Maine. More than 30 Maine Indian basketmakers, selling hand-made, one-of-a-kind, ash splint and sweet grass basketry customarily come from all corners of the state to display and sell their authentic crafts, baskets and art work. With friends and family members often joining them, the annual sale and demonstration at the Hudson Museum is one of the largest Native gatherings in the state and a rare opportunity to see the work of members of all four of Maine’s Indian tribes.
The event draws hundreds of visitors and basket collectors from throughout New England and beyond, coming to the Orono campus each year to buy work baskets, such as creels, pack and potato baskets, fancy baskets, ranging from strawberry and blueberry shaped-baskets to curly bowls, along with quill jewelry, wood carvings, birch bark work, paintings, photography and Native jewelry made during the year by members of the Wabanaki tribes.
The day also features traditional foods, music, a children’s workshop and demonstrations of brown ash-pounding and basket-making. Allen Sockabasin, author of “Thanks to the Animals,” a book based on a story told to him as a child by his mother Molly Zoo Sap, will host a book-signing. Also, renowned Passamaquoddy basket maker Jeremy Frey will demonstrate his technique. One of Frey’s baskets will be raffled off in a special Hudson Museum Friends Maine Indian Basket Raffle.
The event is free and open to the public; early bird shopping for $10 is from 9-10 a.m. For more information, call 207-581-1901 or visit the museum’s website at http://www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum.
A schedule of events follows:
9-10 a.m. – Early bird shopping;
10 a.m. – Opening welcome by the Penobscot Nation, the event’s host tribe and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance;
10:30-11 a.m. – Brown ash pounding and work basket demonstration by Eldon Hanning, Micmac;
11-11:30 a.m. – Fancy basket demonstration by Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy;
11 a.m.-1 p.m. – Traditional foods, Bodwell Lounge area, featuring hull corn soup, fry bread and blueberry desserts. Food sales benefit the Penobscot Nation Boys and Girls Club.
Noon-1 p.m. – Children’s workshop with Pam Cunningham, Penobscot, making candy baskets. For ages 6 and up, limited to 16 children, with pre-registration required. A $15 charge covers materials for each child for one activity. Call 207-581-1901 to register.
1-2 p.m. – Book signing with Allen Sockabasin, Passamaquoddy storyteller and author of “Thanks to the Animals.”
1:30-2:30 p.m. – Burnurwurbskek Singers, drumming, singing and dancing;
Highlights of the day include:
A Hudson Museum Friends Maine Indian Basket Raffle that offers a chance to win an original Passamaquoddy fancy basket made by Jeremy Frey. The drawing will be held during the sale and demonstration at the Hudson Museum. Raffle tickets are $5 each and are on sale at the Hudson Museum Shop.
Frey draws on his family’s tradition of basketmaking through his grandfather Fred Moore as well as traditions passed on to his mother Gal Frey by Sylvia Gabriel, a master Passamaquoddy basket maker. Frey harvests his own basketmaking materials, going into the woods to harvest brown ash trees, pounding the logs to separate the growth rings to produce splints for baskets. He weaves baskets from the brown ash he prepares.
Frey is best known for his intricate fancy baskets, featuring braided ash weavers, very fine splint work, porcupine quill decorative treatments and the use of porcupine and curly weaves. He has demonstrated his craft throughout the state in museums and at festivals and shows his work at the Native American Festival in Bar Harbor, the Hudson Museum Holiday Show and the Common Ground Fair. His work is among the collections of the National Museum of the American Indian.
Allen Sockabasin’s new book “Thanks to the Animals” comes from a story that his mother Molly Zoo Sap told him as a child. It’s a family story set around 1900, in which Little Zoo Sap and his family are traveling to their winter home when Zoo Sap falls off the sled unnoticed. The forest animals hear his cries and keep him safe until his father comes back to find him.
Sockabasin was born in 1944 at the Passamaquoddy village of Peter Dana Point, the tenth of eleven children, with eight brothers and two sisters. He was tribal chief for more than four years and has served as the director of child welfare, a substance abuse counselor, a builder, logger, landscaper, heath educator and activist. For the past 25 years, he has taught and promoted the Passamaquoddy language to keep it alive in his tribe.