Jennifer Sapiel Neptune, beadworker, basketmaker and herbalist. Jennifer's ancestors have lived on what is now the Penobscot Nation's "Indian Island" for generations. She remembers her grandmother working there to dye ash splints for traditional ash and sweetgrass baskets. Jennifer has a degree in anthropology and a concentration in Native Studies from the University of Maine in Orono. For eight years she managed the now closed Maine Indian Basketmakers' Alliance Gallery in Old Town Maine.
Her beadwork is exquisite, dainty and vibrant utilizing traditional motifs and patterns in new ways. She studies old photographs and actual artifacts to learn the patterns and techniques. Jennifer was one of 3 beadworkers who replicated a 1700's Maliseet chief's outfit for the Maine State Museum. Recently Jennifer replicated a Penobscot beaded ceremonial chief's collar from the original which is displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. This intricate project took over 300 hours of work.
Tiny detail is Jennifer's forte. Her miniature ash and sweetgrass baskets have won prizes at the Sante Fe Indian Market. Her boundless curiosity about her ancestor's customs have led her to study their herbal medicines.