Here - in a larger than most - is one of Dr Molly Neptune Parker's signature baskets, a strawberry basket. Dr. Molly Neptune Parker has received some of the highest honors for her work as a basketmaker.
This beautiful basket is covered in very small, very tightly curled curlicue curls (also called "wart" curls - which Clara Keezer used to assure me sounds better in Passamaquoddy). There are 290 of these curls on basket bottom, 240 curls on the lid. - Over 500 of these curls each precisely and painstakingly hand twisted and placed! This tapers from the 4.25" diameter at the opening of the basket to a point/tip at the bottom. A thick long braid of sweetgrass with loop at the top forms the handle. 4 dark green leaves of ash splint are around the handle and make up the strawberry's hull. The lid edge is bound with unbraided tidal sweetgrass. A thin, tightly braided length of sweetgrass is placed at the top rim of the basket - which is only seen when lid is removed. The basket is woven of brown ash, the traditional basketry material of Wabanaki basket weavers. (Wabanaki Confederacy - 5 Northeastern tribes; Abenaki, Maliseet, MicMac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot - who reside in Vermont, Maine and Eastern Canada)
This basket is 4.25" in diameter at widest. It stands 5.5" to the top of the basket lid, the braided handle is 4.5" long - 10" overall height.
In 2015 Molly received an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College, Brunswick Maine. Bowdoin announced this honor by saying " Molly Neptune Parker is a true tradition-bearer, she has taught generations of tribal members across the country to weave, ensuring the continuance of this once-endangered Native art form. She has served as president of the Maine Indian Basketmakers’ Alliance and as a master teacher in the Maine Arts Commission’s traditional arts apprenticeship program.
She has demonstrated her craft at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and is a recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts; the Fellowship recognizes artists for both artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s traditional arts heritage for future generations. Mrs. Parker’s other awards include the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship Award for Traditional Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Native Arts Award, and the First People’s Fund’s Community Spirit Award."