Debbie Nicholas (Artist Profile)

Debbie Nicholas comes from a long line of Passamaquoddy basketmakers. Her mother Edith Neptune Pond picked sweetgrass and was renowned for her sweetgrass braid, her uncle Peter Neptune makes “fancy” work baskets, and her aunts Theresa Neptune Gardner and Clara Neptune Keezer instilled in her a passion for making baskets.  To this day, everyone in the family continues the tradition of harvesting sweetgrass.

After attending a Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA) workshop, Debbie began weaving baskets. She then apprenticed with her aunt Clara, learning how to make strawberries, blueberries, and fancy baskets. When Clara suggested that she create her own signature style, Debbie surprised her aunt with a black cat basket as a gift.

Nicholas often sketches out her basket designs before she weaves them. In 2023, she was commissioned to make the Friends of the Hudson Museum raffle basket. Proceeds from the ticket sales for this basket will go towards supporting the Wabanaki Winter Market.

At this year’s event, Debbie will feature baskets in the form of Christmas trees as well as strawberries, vases and colorful fancy baskets in various shades of burgundy, purple and mauve.

Gallery – Debbie Nicholas, Passamaquoddy Basketmaker

Video – Debbie Nicholas, Passamaquoddy Basketmaker

PBS Video Cover for "Wabanaki Basketmaking"
(Source: PBS)

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

Organized by the Hudson Museumthe 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: