Eldon Hanning (Artist Profile)

It isn’t a Wabanaki Winter Market at the Hudson Museum without Eldon Hanning – Mi’kmaq – demonstrating brown ash pounding and the preparation of splints to weave baskets.

Eldon Hanning and his son Frank are some of the only basketmakers, who can select a brown ash tree in the woods. Father and son split the log into sticks, pound them to produce splints, and then take the splints to make traditional Mi’kmaq basket forms — pack baskets, shoppers, laundry, and potato baskets and fishing creels among many other forms.

Eldon grew up in a family of basketmakers.  He started making baskets with his mother, Elizabeth Knockwood Hanning and his father Ben Hanning. During his childhood he lived in Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Presque Isle, Mapleton, Easton and Washburn in Aroostook County. The family worked the potato harvest and made baskets, among other seasonal occupations. 

In 1971, Eldon enlisted in  the US Army and served at a variety of military bases including Korea. While he was in Korea, he married a Korean women and they had a son, Frank, who was born in 1973.  Eldon left the military in 1981 and moved back to Maine.  After a visit to the Micmac Council’s Basket Bank, he decided to start making baskets again. Today he makes baskets full time as well as supplies prepared ash to other Wabanaki basketmakers.  He has passed the tradition on to his son, Frank and his grandson Ben, who will also be at the market.

Video: Eldon Hanning – Ash Harvest

Photos: Eldon and Frank Hannin – Basket Makers

Upcoming 2023 Wabanaki Winter Market (Saturday, December 9, 2023) :

Organized by the Hudson Museum, the Wabanaki Winter Market is New England’s largest holiday gathering of Wabanaki artists. The annual december event features Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance award-winning weavers, as well as new artists representing the next generation of weavers.

The event is supported in part by grants from the Maine Office of Tourism and the Onion Foundation

Location of the event: The Collins Center for the Arts (2 Flagstaff Road|Orono, Maine)
Date: Saturday, December 9, 2023 (from 9 am to 3 pm)
Contact: Gretchen Faulkner | Director, Hudson Museum (207.581.1904)

For event updates, please visit: https://www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum