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Spring Eclipse w/ Birchbark Medallion - 2nd Place SWIA

OTTER  took 2nd place at the Heard Museum's Invitational only in Phoenix with this basket!  Over 700 invited participants, Otter took a 2nd place.    2nd place @ both the Heard and Santa Fe in one year!This basket, which won second place at Santa Fe's Indian Market (SWIA)  had been on exhibit at several recent events - just returned and available for purchase.   It will come with it's the SWIA 2nd place ribbon.  (Ribbon is shown in a photo above)  Otter, Passamaquoddy basketmaker and artist can seamlessly combine the best of traditional craft with a completely contemporary flair.   Here he uses a traditional method of Passamaquoddy basketry - using brown ash, the traditional material, to shape an elegant basket.  The form, a narrow circular base flaring to a wider circular top shoulder then pulling in again to narrow at the basket top/opening is not traditional.  Earlier "trophy" shape baskets were a similar shape, but this particular form is something very modern.  The bold black striping which starts a ways up from the base and ends at the shoulder is dramatic, particularly combined with the natural pale ash bottom and all dyed black shoulder to top.  Otter uses tidal sweetgrass to bind the rim of the basket and the basket lid, he lases the rim with a lovely and traditional double lash which forms a V shape.  On the lid Otter has attached a etched birch bark emblem.  Etching birchbark with designs is a very old Passamaquoddy art form, but the combining etched birchbark and basketry, that is a new innovation of Otter's.  Adding another recent innovation, Otter has placed a moosehorn handle on the lid attached by a traditional wrapped ring.  This basket stands 9.5" high, (top wrapped ring handle which attaches moosehorn handle adds an additional .5" to height making basket 10" total height)  This is 6.75" in diameter at widest (shoulder of basket),  bottom is 3.75" in diameter and top opening is 4" in diameter and birchbark medallion is 3" in diameter.   Photos with black backgrounds were supplied to me by Otter - Please view all the photos above In photo below you can see a very tight braid of tidal sweetgrass on the exterior of the rim of the birchbark medallion .    The carved bentwood rim on the inside of the basket is a very traditional old way to finish the rim of a Passamaquoddy basket - and basically in recent times the bentwood rims on small baskets are only to be found in Otter's baskets.   The moose antler/moosehorn handle is thick and attached thru a hole carved into it.   You can see the contemporary birchbark etching in photo below-  at center are double curve motifs, done in a contemporary unique, totally Otter interpretation of a very traditional NE Indian design.   It is in details such as this you can really see the total artist that is Otter - mixing contemporary with tradition while always keeping to a high standard of beauty in each piece.  The black stripes just stopping about 2/3rds down the basket is a difficult feat to accomplish and I have not seen this done on any other NE Native American basket - having viewed 10's of thousands of NE Indian baskets, current and antique - in museum and private collections, that I have bought and sold, and that I have appraised for donation or insurance purposes.  -  This difficult unique design feature was accomplished by imbricating the black ash stripe from the top to where it ends.  The foundation splints are tapered, they are about 3/16" wide at the basket bottom, flaring to 1/2" (8/16") at the shoulder then tapering back to 5/16" at the top of the basket.  ----  The black imbricated piece needed to be cut with precision to follow the taper of the foundation splint, then overlaid and woven in at the bottom of the design and at the top of the basket.  Below the black stripe design the weaver splints are 1/32" wide, this changes to 1/16" wide at the black stripe design.  The moosehorn comes from a moose antler - moose bulls shed their antlers in the winter and grow another set for the following summer/fall.  Collecting dropped moose horn (also called moose antler) is a tradition among those who live in the northern most Maine woods - antlers from bull moose hunted in the fall are also used by Passamaquoddy craftsmen.  Otter just recently began to make baskets, for while he was an apprentice to Jeremy Frey, arguably the best current Maine Indian basketmaker. Certainly Jeremy, just thirty, is one of the most honored. Eric "Otter" Bacon has a background in art and has his paintings exhibited in several west coast galleries.  After returning from the west coast to again reside on the Indian Township reserve, Otter began making traditional Passamaquoddy baskets, then began making those baskets his own with numerous innovations.  Otter he was raised - on the Indian Township reserve located near the Canadian border, near Princeton Maine  
Spring Eclipse w/ Birchbark Medallion
Spring Eclipse w/ Birchbark Medallion
Spring Eclipse w/ Birchbark Medallion
Weight: 1 lb