American Native Arts and Antiques

Exceptional Current and Vintage Native American Arts

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4 Directions : 5 crafts


This unique basket is Otter's masterpiece showing his skill in 5 traditional Passamaquoddy crafts and his amazing artistic talent in the execution and design. Here is "4 directions". The bottom basket has a swirl of porcupine curls and curlicue curls which makes the basket most visually interesting. The lid has an inset etched birchbark medallion with porcupine quill arrows pointing in the 4 sacred directions. The center is a moosehorn "button", a thin slice of the horn taken from the end of the moose's antler. on this Otter has placed flat ovals of wampum in an array around a center round wampum. - 5 crafts; basketry, birch bark etching, moosehorn carving, wampum shell carving, and porcupine quill work.

The etchings on the birch bark are a rising sun, a floral motif, and 2 renditions of the double curve motif - all very traditional yet rendered very current by Otter's unique take on these. One of the double curves - opposite the rising sun - is also a wigwam shape.

The basket is 7" in diameter at the top, tapering to 3.25" in diameter at the bottom and 4" high. The moosehorn button is 4" in diameter and the wampum ovals are 7/8" long and the wampum button is 1" in diameter.

The last 3 photos show the swirl of porcupine curls and curlicue curls progressing around the basket's side.

The basket is made of brown ash, traditional material of Maine and Eastern Canadian Indian basketmakers. The rims are bound with tidal sweetgrass and Otter places a braid of tidal sweetgrass both on the below the basket rim and around the birch bark medallion.

This basket was part of an exhibit, Transcending Traditions which featured five contemporary Maine Indian basketmakers who represent the next generation. ( "see the on-line version of Transcending Traditions here") It also went with Otter to the Santa Fe Indian Market where it helped him win the first place ribbon in "Non-SouthWestern Miscellaneous. (birch bark)"

Otter's 4 direction/5 craft
Otter's 4 direction/5 craft Side
Otter's 4 direction/5 craft rising sun
Otter's 4 direction/5 craft side a
Otter's 4 direction/5 craft side b
Otter's 4 direction/5 craft side c
Weight: 1 lb