Clara Keezer Handkerchief Basket
The Wabanaki tribes of Maine, many of whom lived inland during winter and on the coast in the summer, began making fancy baskets in the late 1800’s. Fancy baskets are more delicate than the utilitarian baskets made for carrying goods. The tribal members sold their wares to vacationers in the coastal resorts. This design dates to the Victorian era, when ladies brought their handkerchiefs in their trunks to their summer residences or hotels.
Clara Keezer, a Passamaquoddy Indian born in 1930, is one of the women who kept the art of fancy basket making alive into the present. With the demise of coastal travel by the Indians, and the loss of the market, demand for fancy baskets dropped. Women like Clara Keezer held onto their basket making traditions, made innovations in designs, and share(d) their skills with younger generations.
This basket was woven by Clara Keezer in 2003 from natural colored ash and braided sweetgrass,