About the Artist:
The matriarch of four generations of Passamaquoddy basketweavers, Molly Neptune Parker began weaving baskets at a young age, using the scraps of ash wood that fell to the floor as her mother worked. Today, she leads efforts to share this tradition with young people, encouraging the continuance of this art form for generations to come.
Born in Indian Township, Maine, in 1939, Molly Neptune Parker is part of a family of basketmakers; her mother, grandmother, and aunts all made baskets. While the men would harvest and pound the ash used for basketmaking, the women in her family would strip the ash and split it into the correct thickness — fine ash for fancy baskets and thicker ash for work baskets. In the Passamaquoddy tradition, families would have signature designs that were passed down. Molly continues to make baskets with ash flowers fashioned on the top, a design her mother and grandmother used.
Molly is known for her fancy baskets, featuring intricate weaving techniques, such as her signature creation, the acorn-shaped basket. Basketmaking supports her livelihood, and has allowed her to buy a home and help pay for the education of her grandchildren, who are also carrying on this craft. A true tradition bearer, Parker continues her own efforts to preserve the basketmaking tradition among her community in the Passamaquoddy Tribe, including mentoring her grandson George Neptune.
“Basketmaking for me is about innovation and creativity within the context of a traditional art form,” says Molly. “The functionality, the materials, and the shapes have been a legacy for each generation. I honor that legacy and believe I have a responsibility to continue it, basing it always on our traditions and knowledge of literally thousands of years. Basketmaking is an art that I believe I was born to do, much as my ancestors have done for thousands of years.”
This beautiful ash and sweetgrass basket was made in 1993 by Passamaquoddy artisan Molly Neptune Parker of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance. This large basket is highlighted with yellow accent colors and has oval rings of braided sweetgrass (2 inches wide by 2.5 inches high) adhered by a single strip of ash bark to the upper perimeter of the basket.
This gorgeous Native American basket is in excellent vintage condition, free of broken reeds or sweetgrass rings. It is signed on it bottom with the phrase “#2 Molly Neptune 1993.”
This stunning, functional Passamaquoddy basket would make for an ideal accent to or conversational piece for any living room, library, study or home office. If you collect Native American baskets (or know of someone who does), this is a great one to add to your collection.