$0 – $205

Black Ash Basketmaking

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North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm St

Montpelier, VT 05602

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Learn every step of traditional black ash basketry in this forest-to-basket class!

About this Event

Learn every step of traditional black ash basketry in this forest-to-basket class! Black ash trees are uniquely suited for basketmaking, and members of Vermont’s Abenaki community and many others have made baskets from this tree for centuries. Black ash is threatened by emerald ash borer (EAB), and basketmakers have been on the front lines of EAB research and response from the beginning. Abenaki basketmakers Kerry and Aaron Wood will teach each step of the basketmaking process beginning with a walk through an ash stand, assessing living trees for basket quality, processing ash splints, weaving a basket, and exploring indigenous cultural values of ash trees. Participants will go home with their own foraging basket and lid in this day-and-a-half class. Co-hosted by North Branch Nature Center and Vermont Land Trust.

November 16 - 17, 2019

Class runs 9 AM - 5 PM on November 16, and 9 AM - 1 PM on November 17

NBNC and VLT Members: $185 (Become a NBNC or VLT member)

Non-members: $205

Scholarships available. Request scholarship assistance here.

About the Instructors:

Kerry Wood: Ash and sweetgrass basket making has been a craft in Kerry's family for generations.  Her Great Grandmother, Elvine Obomsawin and her family made their living by making and selling baskets.  Kerry has been privileged to be able to apprentice under Master Artist Jeanne Brink for the past 3 years through the Vermont Folklife Center Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program along with her son, Aaron Wood.  Jeanne Brink is also her cousin, and hearing the stories from their Obomsawin family heritage while learning basket making brought her past alive!  When she is making baskets, she feels a deep connection with those who have gone before her, and is at peace and connected.  Her husband helps prepare the ash by harvesting the brown ash trees and, with Aaron, pounds and splits the ash.  The family works together to create the materials for baskets from the harvest of the tree to the final project.  She enjoys teaching future generations this craft.  Basket making is part of the Abenaki soul and heritage, and it is critical to ensure it is never lost.  

Aaron Wood: Aaron Wood is an Abenaki basket maker. The 25th apprentice of master Abenaki basket maker Jeanne Brink, he has been weaving Black Ash and Sweetgrass Baskets for 5 years. He is a Journeyman member of the Vermont Abenaki Artist Association, and his baskets are in private collections across New England and Canada. Aaron harvests black ash and processes his splint by hand, with self-made tools. He demonstrates this traditional skill throughout the Northeast at Native American festivals and powwows, as well as private workshops for both splint preparation and basket weaving. His art is guided by traditional, land-based knowledge and his study of the Abenaki language. He weaves fancy baskets, as well as baskets for Ceremony, household use, wildcrafting, and other tasks to preserve and promote Abenaki traditional material culture.

Cancellation policy: Full refund if cancelled more than 14 days before the program. Full refund less $100 if cancelled between 7 and 14 days before the program, unless your space is filled from our wait list. We cannot guarantee any refund if cancelled less than 7 days before the program, unless your space is filled from our wait list.

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North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm St

Montpelier, VT 05602

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