My friend Clara Keezer passed away in 2016. I loved visiting her, buying her work, sharing a good laugh. I am parting with a few more of her baskets that I purchased from her over the years. There are many I can't bear to part with. (and I have purchased a few of her works from the 1990's from a down-sizing collector)
This basket shows Clara's love of bright and strong color.
Clara Keezer's very distinctive signature spiral twist design done here with one natural and two dyed ash splints, cherry red, and deep purple. The spiral twist with color is a design that Clara has made all her own. Others of Clara's spiral twist baskets have 3 colors or a color, a natural and a third "twist weaver" made of tightly braided tidal sweetgrass. I love the radiating spiral bursts of color on the lid almost a whirlwind or sunburst effect. On this basket lid is another of Clara's signature styles, a bow ribbon handle. On this basket Clara added a row of "standard 1/2 diamond curls at the top of the basket.
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. There is also tightly and finely braided sweetgrass weavers on the outer edge lid of the basket. Between the 2 ash rim splints at the top of the basket is another Clara Keezer trademark - a braid of tidal sweetgrass. This grass grows on tidal marshes within view of the Keezer home in the most Northeastern corner of this country... The land and people of the dawn- The Passamaquoddy reserve near Eastport Maine where the dawn hits this country first. The grass here has been picked by Clara's neighbor, friend and distant relative, Diane Apt. (The university of Maine and Maine Indian Basketmaker's Alliance have some wonderful film footage of Diane picking this grass, discussing her memories of picking sweetgrass with her grandmother, and also braiding the grass) Clara braided this sweetgrass herself.
This spiral twist w/curls basket is 3.75" top diameter tapering to 2.5" bottom diameter and 3.5" high with Clara's signature "bow ribbon" handle on the lid adding another 1/4" to overall height. Clara did make larger versions of this style. This basket has been signed and dated by Clara . The card shown is included, it indicates Clara is a NEA 2002 Heritage Award winner. Clara has signed both the basket and the card.