A Maliseet from Maine, the artist feels a strong responsibility to carry on the traditions of his small tribe. After 500 years or so of European influence, it still survives in the super-populated Northeast.
With traditional, painstaking and laborious work, this charming box was made from hand gathered birch bark, hand peeled and etched, and combined with braided sweet grass. This is something we in the Southwest don’t get to see, as a rule!
The interior of this piece sports the familiar, pie-bald bark, while the exterior has been peeled to a warm gold. The prim design of scallops and flowers has a sweet, semi-Victorian feel.
The flowers are each centered with a dried corn kernel. This brings good luck, which is similar to the southwestern tribes’ use of corn as a symbol of health, happiness, and prosperity.
Large enough for real storage of special items, small enough to adorn a table, dresser or desk, this is a practical charmer, and a living piece of cultural history.