Native American Twined Bags & Baskets


Vera harvesting milkweed for making twined bags & Baskets

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History

Wabanaki women (Abenaki, Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot) have been making plant fiber bags and baskets for thousands of years. Evidence of these twined textiles can be found in archaeologic sites in New England, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Although the soil in the northeast isn't generally hospitable towards perishables, the greatest concentration of twined fragments has  been discovered in Vermont. Additional surviving  pieces from the 17 and 18th centuries have been preserved  in collections in Maine, New Hampshire and New York.


 




 

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 About the Artist

Since time immemorial, Native American people have passed on family traditions of how to gather and process plants to weave baskets, bags and textiles. Fiber artist, Vera Longtoe Sheehan, of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, is no exception. She follows in the footsteps of her ancestors. She first started learning to make cordage and weave as a child from her father. She combines years of experience, knowledge from her family traditions with over 25 years of research about Wabanaki history to create each of her distinctive pieces. She makes twined bags, twined baskets and twined textiles from both hand rolled and commercially rolled plant fiber cordage. Each of her twined items is hand made. Depending on size, it can take hours, days, weeks or even months to complete. They are environmentally friendly, made from plants, which are quick growing, renewable resources. Additionally, as a master artist Vera offers apprenticeships to ensure this endangered art form continues for future generations.


She has been offering programs on Native American culture for more than twenty years. Through her lectures and workshops she conveys  knowledge, of her family traditions and research of Wabanaki history, to audiences of all ages. Some of the locations where she has done programs are: the American Museum of Natural History, Echo Lake Aquarium & Science Center, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Fort Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Middlebury College and the University of Vermont. Consider one of Vera’s programs on Native American culture for your conference, museum or school.


Vera's work is sought after for exhibitions, museum collections and for usage  in documentaries films. She is a member of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance and of the Woodland Confederacy (a living history organization). Additionally, Vera is the Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association which is dedicated to promoting "Vermont's Indigenous arts and artists, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas and professional development as entrepreneurs, and to have a method for the public to find and engage our artists.



 Contact Vera at (802) 579-0049 or by email at  vlongtoe@gmail.com


*The Elnu Abenaki Tribe is recognized by the State of Vermont as a Native American Tribe (Refer to Sec 1.1 V.S.A.§ 853a). Verification can be made by contacting the Tribal Headquarters.

 *Each piece is labeled in accordance with the Indian Arts and Crafts Law*



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