American Native Arts and Antiques

Exceptional Current and Vintage Native American Arts

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Honoring Basket: Clara Keezer


This lovely large round basket has several loops of somewhat thick tightly braided tidal sweetgrass that extend up over the rim of the basket. It is by Clara Neptune Keezer (d. 2016) - a much honored Passamaquoddy basketmaker and elder. This is an older design element used by Passamaquoddy basketmakers as early as 1880's. This style baskets were often given to visiting dignitaries - and are sometimes called "honoring baskets". There is a wide red dyed ash splint weaver below the basket rim that really focuses your attention to the loops and the top of the basket.

The basket is 7.25" in diameter, is 5.5" high to top of the sweetgrass loops (5" high at rim of basket). This basket tapers near the bottom then sets on a ash ring at the very bottom. The basket has 2 rows of "curlicue curls" just above the protective bottom ring.

Clara Neptune Keezer (1930-2016), 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 plain tidal sweetgrass to wrap the rim of the basket. Under the bottom of the loops are decorative narrow rows of narrow tightly braided tidal sweetgrass weavers between the natural color ash weavers used for most of the basket. Tidal sweet 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, dried and combed by Clara's son Kenny and Clara herself braided the sweetgrass used in this basket.

Honoring Basket
Honoring Basket - side
Honoring Basket -
Honoring Basket - inside, NEA Card
Weight: 12 oz