American Native Arts and Antiques

Exceptional Current and Vintage Native American Arts

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Midnight Whitecaps; Basket


Midnight Whitecaps - a significant work by Penobscot artist/basketmaker Sarah Sockbeson evokes foamy waves atop a stormy sea on a moonless night. A similar basket by Sarah took 2nd place in basketry at the 2018 Heard Museum's Indian Market show. (see photo of this work w/ribbon it won below) This tall vase shaped basket has porcupine curls over alternate ash splint weavers. The deer antler handle balances it perfectly. Sarah has used alternating dyed black and natural color ash splint weavers. She also alternated narrow dyed black and wider dyed dark turquoise weavers... over the turquoise weavers she placed fine, sharply pointed natural ash porcupine (or point) curls. The lid features a similar design using even finer splits and smaller porcupine curls.

This is 5.75" high to the top of the lid with the antler handle adding 1" making the overall height 6.75". The 3.5" diameter top tapers to 2.5" diameter on the bottom.

Woven of brown ash splints, traditional basketry material of the Wabanaki peoples (5 tribe confederacy; Abenaki, Maliseet,MicMac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot). The rims of the basket and the lid are bound with tidal sweetgrass. There is a bit of sweetgrass used as weavers at the center of the lid (around the antler handle). There are 12 rows of the very fine porcupine curls on the basket, each with 22 porcupine curls - 264 very fine, tight curls... Technically difficult to make these curls so fine, tight and sharp! The lid also has 12 rows of curls, 3 curls in each row, an additional 36... 300 of these amazing curls on this basket!

Basket is signed and dated on outer edge of inside of lid. Comes with a bit of loose sweetgrass that Sarah included; these are shown in 2nd to last of the photos.

Sarah has won ribbons at the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum Invitational show for her work. Her work was featured in the Portland Museum of Art's 2016 Bicentennial exhibit along with 3 other young Maine Indian basketmakers. Awards such as these elevate her work from finely crafted baskets to works of art.

Midnight Whitecaps basket
Midnight Whitecaps basket- Side
Midnight Whitecaps basket- Top
Midnight Whitecaps basket- Open, lying down
Prize Winner, Heard Museum 2018
Weight: 12 oz