A loon with red eye and cattails is atop the lid on this great basket by Paul St John, Mohawk. The loon is one of Maine's most beloved and iconic birds. Loon baskets such as this and some smaller/larger sizes are among the most beloved of Paul St John's works. (of course all of Paul's work is handmade and every loon basket is unique!) This is the 16th oval loon basket of this size I have offered by Paul - This loon is "larger" than most of the others have been taking up nearly the entire birch bark medallion on the top .. some have had 1 cattail or 3 or none.. here there are 2 - These cattail leaves are "fall/winter" yellow green color - others have had a dark or bright green leaf......AND this basket itself is a bit larger than most of Paul's regular oval basket - It is 6.25" long (most are 5.25" to 5.5")
The loon's call is heard in the Great North woods on ponds and along Maine's rocky shores. If you have been lucky enough to encounter a loon while kayaking, canoeing or swimming then you know these are quite large birds, about 3' long. They seem to be drawn to human activity. I have noticed they appear to be even more curious about young children's voices - my grandson recently was swimming in a Maine lake and 3 loons joined him! Very close, quite magical.
This loon is made of black dyed and natural white porcupine quills with a red dyed eye. On a live loon the red eye is quite a startling feature! This loon swims on blue dyed quill "water" with brown and yellow/green dyed cattails in back of the loon. This is traditional quill on birch bark work.
This basket has birch bark at center of lid and used as the bottom - then coiled tidal sweetgrass. It is 6.25" long, 5" across and about 2.5" high. The birch bark medallion at lid's center is 4" long and 3" wide. There is a border of natural white porcupine quills around the outer edge of the birch bark medallion - between the coiled sweetgrass and the medallion.
The loon is of black dyed quills and natural white quills. It's red eye, the green cattail leaves and brown cattails are all of dyed quill. It swims atop blue dyed quill water...