This sweet small blueberry basket has a green hull with curly vines on the lid and a handle of tightly braided & tightly wrapped/twisted tidal sweetgrass making a unique handle. On the bottom are blue colored "point" curl feet - for balance to make it stand more securely.
Sue has been making baskets on and off for several years with her talented sisters, Pam Thompson Cunningham and Kimberly Thompson Bryant. Pam and Kim are well known, highly regarded Penobscot basketmakers who along with Kim's daughter Ganessa make up one of Maine's most respected families of Penobscot basketmakers. The Thompson sisters' great-grandmother was also a basketmaker (see her photo w/baskets - last photo in slideshow)
This blueberry has the green hull/leaves combined with the curly vines are similar to those used by Sue's sisters, Pam and Kim - but .... the curled sweetgrass braid handle is all her own! Pumpkin is 2.25" to the lid's rim, the handle is another .75", making this 3" high overall. The widest diameter is 1.75", the opening is 1.25", bottom diameter is 1". Basket tapers from top to bottom..
Sue told me that she is using a new type of dye, not the more commonly used aniline dye. She is using professional grade paint which is permanent, non-toxic and UV resistant (aniline dyes fade in light!) ... Sue says she loves painting and drawing - so has enjoyed experimenting with paints for baskets.
Made of brown ash, the traditional material of Maine and Eastern Canadian Wabanaki basketmakers, this has plain tidal sweetgrass wrapping the rim of the basket and the lid. As mentioned the handle is tightly braided tidal sweetgrass and plain tidal sweetgrass is used as weavers on the top of lid and to bind "green ash splint hull" to lid. Sue's handwritten card, shown in slideshow photos will come with the basket - she has signed, "Sue Thompson, Penobscot Nation, Maine" .... dated "2017" and has her maker's mark there as well.
It has been several years since I have been able to offer similar baskets by Pam or Kim - they have not made many baskets in recent years. That makes this little blueberry a welcome addition to my "shop" - It is a familiar form by an artist relatively new to serious basketmaking. Sue has recently made many other baskets. I am fortunate to add a pinecone basket, a raspberry, a plum and hopefully soon more by Sue. She has the family's basketry talent, some fresh twists on the familiar forms and hopefully there will be many more of her baskets here...
Last photo is a pic of Sue's great-grandmother, ssipsis, selling her baskets about 1920. To make some of her basket forms her sister Pam uses some of their great-grandmother, ssipsis's basket making tools - gauges, crooked knives and wooden molds.