Twined Bags & Baskets
Twined baskets, bags and containers pre-date the ash splint baskets that the Wabanaki people are known for. It is the oldest method of basket making known in the North Eastern United States. Native American women gathered and processed plants to make baskets, bags and containers. Twining is very well documented in the 17th & 18th centuries. By the 19th century, the trail of tangible evidence of Wabanaki twining in the far North East went dry, giving scholars the impressions that twined bag and basket making was given up long ago. However it was never lost in the Longtoe family.
Vera harvesting milkweed for making twined bags & Baskets
About the Artist
As an Abenaki culture bearer, master artist, educator and activist Vera Longtoe Sheehan serves her community as Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association, a multi-arts services organization. Her BA in Museum Studies and Native American Studies (MA candidate in Heritage Preservation) from SUNY Empire State allows her to bridge the gap between the Abenaki community and the mainstream world in creating museum exhibitions, educational programs, and events that promote the vibrant culture of her people and she provides consulting services to museums. Her extensive research of archaeology and other primary resources relating to Abenaki textiles and clothing in Wabanaki territory informs her textile-making process.
As a child, she started learning about fiber arts, and she continued has continued to follow in the footsteps of her ancestors. She makes twined bags, twined baskets and twined textiles from both hand-rolled and commercially rolled plant fiber cordage. Each of her twined pieces is ancient and contemporary at the same time. 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.
Vera offers educational programs on Native American culture, traditions, and crafts, which are appropriate for audiences of all ages. She has been doing lectures and demonstrations at tribal events, schools, museums and historic sites for over twenty years. Some of these locations are the American Museum of Natural History, Ft. Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and the Echo Lake Aquarium & Science Center. She as also done presentations at conferences for organizations such as the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges and Vermont Alliance for the Social Studies.
In addition to being a citizen of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe and member of the Woodland Confederacy, she is also a member of the Textile Society of America and New England Museum Association.
Email Vera at email@example.com