maine indian basketmakers alliance
molly neptune parker

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Molly Neptune's Sweetgrass Basket - Detail of Cover

Molly Neptune's Sweetgrass Basket - Detail of  Cover
One of the reasons for my recent trip to Bar Harbor was so I could attend the Annual NATIVE AMERICAN FESTIVAL and Basketmakers Market. I went to this special event last year and got to watch an honor ceremony and dance for Molly Neptune Parker, a Passamaquoddy basket maker, who recently received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. She received the award for her amazing craft work and also for preserving the heritage and the tradtion of Passamaquoddy basketmaking. What an honor!

Her baskets are exquisite. On her card in this photo is an image of her signature piece, an acorn basket! So intricate, and amazing to view up close.

It is a very long and involved process to obtain the materials used to make these baskets, ash and sweetgrass, and then to actually make the baskets. I was in awe of all the beautiful baskets as the festival and the talented basketmakers who created these works of art.

During the past year, I have been thinking about Molly's baskets and decided I might try to buy one, a very small one because they are quite expensive, at this year's festival. My mother's father, my Grandfather Wilcox was originally from this area and his grandmother was a full-blooded Passamaquoddy, so I thought this would be a wonderful way to make a connection with this part of my family heritage.

The Maine Indian Basket Makers Alliance runs entirely on donations, and one of the things they do to raise money is a Silent Auction, at the festival.

When I saw this basket on the Silent Auction table, I knew immediately that it must have been donated by Molly Neptune Parker. I saw that there had already been five bids offered for this piece, but I decided to write in a bid, also, that was $25.00 higher that the last bid.

At 3:00 PM, the auction closed and the names of the winnings bids were called. You know the end of my story, because this basket is now sitting in a place of honor in my home!

It is so beautiful and it smells wonderful because of the sweetgrass. I will cherish it forever!

Here is a video interview and a bio about Molly Neptune Parker created by the National Endowment for the Arts:

The basket:

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