My friend Clara Keezer, honored Passamaquoddy basketmaker, passed away August 2nd, 2016 at the age of 86. Clara Keezer was humble, kind, generous and very hardworking. I miss her as does her family and community.
The corn basket the most treasured basket forms by which Clara Keezer, (d 2016) Passamaquoddy basketmaker was best known. This basket was made in 1997. The basket is perfect - the colors are somewhat faded. (Price reflects this color fade) Like all her corn baskets, this is covered with perfect curlicue curls and has her signature crescent shaped handle/stem and green leafed "hull" on the lid. It is signed and dated on the outside of the inner rim of the lid. It is 6" high, with the crescent shaped handle/stem adding another 1", 7" total height overall. It is 2" widest diameter at the opening at the top and like all corn ears comes to a point at the bottom.
Clara Keezer, Passamaquoddy basketmaker was a winner of a NEA 2002 Heritage Fellowship award for her basketry work. According to the NEA website, this award is "the country's highest honor in the folk and traditional art" -... and includes all folk arts and crafts including but not limited to - music, dance, performance art and traditional crafts and arts.
This basket is made of brown ash splints, the traditional material of Maine and Eastern Canadian basketmakers and also incorporates tidal sweetgrass to wrap the rim of the basket and the lid. The sweetgrass grows only in tidal marshes; these are plentiful near Clara Keezer's home in Pleasant Point Reserve - Sipayak. Her friend and neighbor, Diane Apt, picked the sweetgrass - Clara herself dried and combed it. The card shown with the basket was also signed by Clara and will remain inside it - you will get this card. As the basket was made prior to the 2002 NEA award, the card Clara later used for her work reflecting this honor was not available in 1999 and this is the accurate card to go with this basket.
Read more about Clara Keezer, her work and influence on Maine Indian basketry in the news section of this site - "Honoring Clara Keezer"... also a shorter article about her in the bio section.