Gina Brooks, Maliseet artist, says this birch bark container shows both the older type of undecorated birch bark mukuk and the newer contemporary part that is decorated with flowers, leaves, vines, stars and more.
A beautiful lidded mukuk of birch bark with floral designs on the front and sides, star designs made of spruce root on the lid. This mukuk is a traditionally shaped birch bark container with a square bottom and round top. And as is traditional is held together with spruce root lacings. There is an ash splint on both the interior and exterior rim of the basket.
The mukuk was used to hold items such as food stuffs, small tools - larger sizes might have held clothing. Here Gina has used two traditional techniques to decorate this mukuk. The outlines of the design are made utilizing a pyrography (burnt work) technique. The inner portion of some of the designs has been enhanced with scrape/etch work which is done by gently and slowly scraping away the very thin outer layer of the winter bark to reveal the surface beneath.
This is 5.75" square on the bottom, 4.5" diameter at the top and it stands 5" high.
Gina is a well known Maliseet artist who recently illustrated the "People of the First Light", a permanent exhibit at the Abbe Museum. Gina's work there, along with the illustrations of David Moses Bridges, Passamaquoddy (1964-2017), are life size or larger. Will be adding a "bio" for Gina Brooks shortly.