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121 Crichton Avenue
Dartmouth NS B3A 3R6
Phone: 902-469-2798

E-mail: nsbg@chebucto.ns.ca
Website: www.nsbg.chebucto.org
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Spring/Summer 2013

Volume 25 Number 2 April to December 2013

Our 25th Anniversary year started off with an excellent Mi’kmaw porcupine quill and birchbark workshop with Mi’kmaw artist Cheryl Simon.  All participants made a colourful three-quilled-layered medallion in a traditional Mi’kmaw design suitable for framing.  They were stunning.  Cheryl taught us about the materials, the designs, the tricks of working with the bark and the quills plus the Mi’kmaw stories of the Mi’kmaq.

February was our celebration of Black History month and basketry with the screening of the national Film Board’s film “Black Mother, Black Daughter”.  We were honoured to have Sylvia Hamilton, one of the film makers attend and tell us about making the film with her mother, the educator and community leader Dr. Marie Hamilton, the historian Pearleen Oliver, the weaver and politician Daurene Lewis (who had recently passed away) and our First Honourary Member basketmaker Edith Clayton.  We were also honoured to have several of Mrs. Clayton’s family in the audience.  After the screening, her daughter Clara Gough spoke about her mother’s work in making baskets.  Refreshments included basket cookies (with weaving patterns!) made by Guild member Lillian Fowler.

March was our Annual General Meeting and the Mi’kmaw birchbark and ball game workshop.  Cheryl Simon joined us and enriched the program with Mi’kmaw folklore of birchbark and spruce root.  Lillian made delicious carrot cake, complete with two numeral candles 25, and we all sang Happy Birthday – yummy!  Playing the game proved rather tricky and we all needed practice…

March 24 – We held our spring workshop, Easter Paper Strip and Ribbon basket in the Mi’kmaw style, for the children at the Alderney Gate Library.  Four members worked with about a dozen young people; they came in and out during the 2 hours and we lost track of the exact number.  Good attendance!


(calendar year)

$15 per individual
$20 per couple

Payable to:
Nova Scotia Basketry Guild

Mail to:
121 Crichton Avenue, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia,
B3A 3R6

Contact us if you are not sure if your dues are paid for the current year

Suggestions for workshops, and locations to hold the workshops are always appreciated.

If you, or someone you know, would like to teach a workshop, or have an idea for a workshop, or an idea for workshop space, please e-mail us and let us know. We have people who can help make it happen!

These gatherings are open to Guild Members only.
There is no formal teaching just sharing, to complete workshop projects or to start new ones.

Tuesday Mornings
 9:30am to Noon
 with a potluck lunch at noon.

 Phone Joleen for more information

If you are not a current member you will be required to pay the $15 annual dues plus the class fee.
Coming up:
Register with the class contact person listed with each class.

For the month of April, we have worked together with Gordon Pictou at the Glooscap Heritage Centre in presenting the April 20th program with David Meuse.  The date works well with their annual Earth Day Programming.

Thursday April 18: Earth Day: Giving Oositkamoo Her Due
This program of Mi’kmaw ceremony and drumming with a keynote speech by Kerry Prosper will include a wooden flower making demonstration by David Meuse in the Annex, environment-based games, a talk by Dorene Bernard on important Mi’kmaw scared medicines, a display by the Ecology Action Centre and music by Alan Syliboy’s group Lone Cloud.
Time and Place: 9:00am to1:00pm, Glooscap Heritage Centre, Millbrook.

Saturday April 20:  Wooden Flower Workshop with David Muise from Bear River 
A rare opportunity to learn how to make the Mi’kmaw wooden flowers from an experienced craftsman, David Muise.  This craft was started in the 1940s by a Mi’kmaw basket maker, Madeleine Knockwood.  Madeline loved roses and wondered if she could make one out of leftover pieces of Poplar basket wood.  Looking at flower pictures, she experimented by cutting the wood into the shapes of rose petals and leaves, dyed them to match the flowers and then shaped the damp wooden petals into flowers which she bound together with wire.  She then experimented with other flowers starting a craft tradition which she taught to others who continue this work today.
Cost: $25.00 includes all materials
Place: Glooscap Annex, next to Heritage Centre, Millbrook
Time: 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Tools: scissors to cut wood
To register: phone Glooscap Heritage Centre 1-902-893-3493 or email Heather at programs@glooscapheritagecentre.com or
Gordon at Gordon@glooscapheritagecentre.com


April 27 and May 18 - Red Osier Dogwood and Acadian Willow Basket
These two plants have an interesting history and requirements for growth – and – young plants provide excellent stems/withies for weaving baskets.  Learn how to identify and collect Acadian Willow (Salix alba var.vitelina (L)), and Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera, Michx.) found in the limestone ditches of Hants County for making a round-bottom fruit basket in the European basketry stake-and-strand tradition.  I have a few copies of “Withe Baskets, Traps and Brooms in Nova Scotia” for those who are interested.

Cost: $25.00
Participants: 10 (3 spaces left!)
Time/Place:  April 27 – 9:00am at Gordon home to carpool for all day on the road; bring lunch to eat in the ditches of Hants County (weather dependent of course). If you cannot make the collecting trip, we will collect for you.
Time/Place:  May 18 – 9:30am to 3:30pm – Room 101, Findlay Community Centre, Elliott Street in Dartmouth
Tools: clippers, non-folding knife
Class contact: NSBG@chebucto.ns.ca
Please register and mail class fee to Nova Scotia Basketry Guild 121 Crichton Avenue, Dartmouth NS  B3A 3R6


June and July - Acadian Root Basket Workshop 
The Acadian people made a distinctive ribbed basket in the Celtic tradition with a wooden handle, rim and ribs held together with a diamond-shaped wrap of peeled and split spruce roots.  This class will be in two sections – a collecting day in June and a weaving weekend in July culminating with a showing of our work at the Acadian Days celebration at Grand Pre on July 28th.  This is a yearly gathering of Acadians at their homeland of Grand Pre.  We will have a tent for demonstrating and to meet the public.  A day full of music, Acadian painters, craftspeople and tasty food – and a lot of fun!

June 15 Root collecting trip with root preparation demonstration for weaving.  Be on the alert for construction zones in HRM where they are uprooting spruce trees.
Time: 9:30am to 12:00noon.
Place: Meeting at Joleen’s home
Tools: digging tools like hand claw rakes, clippers

July 20 +21Basket weaving weekend
Place: Hammond’s Plains 
Time: 9:30am to 3:30pm
Tools: clippers, knife, your lunch and your swimsuit!  Overnight camping available.

Participants: 10 (7 places left in the class)
Cost: $35.00 including copy of “Acadian Root Baskets of Atlantic Canada”.
Class contact: NSBG@chebucto.ns.ca
Please register and mail class fee before June 1 to Nova Scotia Basketry Guild 121 Crichton Avenue, Dartmouth NS B3A 3R6. 

July - NSDCC Summer Market demonstration
July/August – Ross Farm Agricultural Museum Braided Straw/Wood Hat demonstration
July/August – Possibly a Berry Box Lantern demonstration at Cole Harbour Farm.  Is anyone interested in volunteering?


August – No program.  No demonstrations


A Look Ahead to our Fall Program
Fall Classes – In conjunction with the provincially designated Mi’kmaw History Month in October, we will focus all our fall classes on Mi’kmaw baskets – those made of hand-pounded Ash splints, fragrant sweetgrass and birchbark.  Descriptions of the classes are below, but details such as cost, time and place will be in our next newsletter.

September 21 and 22 – Ash-splint Wine Caddy/Knitting Basket with Greg McEwan
Come and enjoy our annual weekend with Mi’kmaw basketmakers Greg McEwan and his partner Margaret Sloane.  Try your arm at hand-pounding Ash splints.  Weave the splints into an attractive wine caddy and learn how to attach a swing handle.  We may offer a variation of Knitting Basket.

October 12 – Harvest Basket demonstration at Ross Farm Agricultural Museum, New Ross, Lunenburg County
In 1988, our Guild formed on the Thanksgiving Saturday at Ross Farm Museum and we have been returning every year.  Farm staff cut the witherod for us.  We weave garden baskets in the German tradition of Lunenburg and they provide hot tea and yummy baking from the Rosebank Cottage oven – a basketmaker’s Heaven!

October 19 or 20 (date not yet confirmed) – Birch bark Root-sewn Basket with Todd Labrador.
Learn how our native people gather and use birchbark and spruce roots to make their canoes and baskets with internationally known Mi’kmaw birch bark canoemaker Todd Labrador from Brookfield in Queen’s County.  We will be making an 8-10 inch container of birch bark with a hardwood rim, cut and laced together with peeled and split spruce root.

November 16 (and possibly Nov 17) – Mi’kmaw Fancy Basket with Margaret Pelletier and Della MacGuire
Learn how our native people made narrow strips of Ash wood and used them to weave intricate fancy baskets from two Mi’kmaw craftsmen, Margaret Pelletier and Della MacGuire.  Both these women were born into very well known Mi’kmaw basketmaking families.  Margaret’s mother was elder Caroline Gould from Eskasoni who made the intricately decorated basket which she gave to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on her recent trip to Nova Scotia.  Della’s mother and father, Rita and Abe Smith from Hantsport, wove multi-numbered nesting sets of fancy-woven Ash baskets.
November 24 – Our Annual Advent Wreath Making with Rhinhart Petersmann
Cost: free
Participants: 10 max
Place: Hammond’s Plains 
Time: 9:30-noon collecting greenery; lunch; 1-3pm wreath making
Tools: clipper for greenery; wire coat hanger and cutters; and lunch
Please register and mail class fee before January 31 to Nova Scotia Basketry Guild 121 Crichton Avenue, Dartmouth NS B3A 3R6.

December 7 - Christmas Ornaments from the 4 Founding Traditions with Guild members.
Possibilities are:
Learn how to make a Mi’kmaq Ash wood and Sweetgrass 3-dimensional Star, the original of which was found on Prince Edward Island. 
Learn how to make a chain of fine spruce roots for your Christmas tree.
Learn how to weave small baskets using Red Maple splits
Learn how to make the German Straw Stars of split and pressed (yes, ironed!) straws bound with colourful threads.

Basket and Basketry Outlets
Anne Mae Darville and Maggie Bean have baskets for sale at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia shop.

Greg McEwan's
ash baskets and Alan Hayward's bark baskets are for sale at The Bogside and Carrefour in Halifax.

Maritime Hobbies in Halifax is now carrying a variety of sizes of reed, stocking reed basketry kits, tools, pre-woven cane for chair seats and books. If you are out of town, give them a call they are always willing to find a way to deliver your order to you.  They will order reed, handles, tools, dyes, etc. at your request if they do not stock them. 1521 Grafton Street, 902-423-8870.
Nova Scotia Basketry Contacts
Contact us: NSBG@chebucto.ns.ca
New Glasgow:  
Cape Breton:  
South Shore:  
Other Things to See and Do

June 15 – 2nd Annual Avondale Art Fair in Hants County organized by Kathy Munroe and the Avondale Sky Winery.  We will not participate this year but members are encouraged to attend this delightful fair beside the waters of the Minas Basin.
August - Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine
Session 5 – August 11-23 - Baskets with Japanese artist Hisako Sekijima.  Hisako taught for us in 1997 during the Canada-Asia Pacific Year of Craft.  She is the author of the book, “Basketry: projects from baskets to grass slippers” a copy of which is in our library.
Learn more Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
also at  FibreArts for a profile of Hisako Sekijima


Summer Reading
"The Language of this Land, Mi’kma’ki"
by Dr. Trudy Sable and Bernie Francis

Cape Breton University Press, Sydney, NS. 2012

I would like to bring your attention to this important book.  Dr. Trudy Sable has been a community researcher and educator working collaboratively for more than twenty years with First Nations and Inuit people within Canada and internationally, and Bernie Francis is a Mi’kmaw authority on the Mi’kmaw language who collaborated with linguist Doug Smith to develop the Smith/Francis Orthography, the writing system for the Mi’kmaw language which is recognized as the official orthography in Nova Scotia. 

To quote:
"The word Mi’kmaq is plural and is also used when referring to the whole nation.  For instance: “The Mi’kmaq of Eastern Canada.…”
Mi’kmaw is the singular and adjectival form of Mi’kmaq.  Examples: “I am a Mi’kmaw” or “A Mi’kmaw man told me a story” or “As a Mi’kmaw speaker…etc.”  It is also used to refer to the language itself.  Examples: “I speak Mi’kmaw.” “Mi’kmaw is my first language.” “All the Mi’kmaq spoke Mi’kmaw up to the 1950s….”

The word “Mi’kma’ki” refers to the Mi’kmaw territory of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, much of New Brunswick and the Gaspe and part of northeastern Maine.

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