NEW GLOUCESTER — Maine’s finest Native American artists will gather at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village for the seventh Maine Native American Summer Market and Demo of traditional Wabanaki art forms.
The free event will run from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, rain or shine, at 707 Shaker Road.
The Shaker’s at Sabbathday Lake crossed paths with Maine’s Native American tribes in century-long connections that date back several hundred years.
“The blending of these two oldest cultures forms a series of traditions in the State of Maine that is rare,” says Michael Graham, Director of the Shaker Museum, Library and Herb Gardens.
This marks the seventh consecutive year for what is now the largest gathering of Maine’s traditional native artists traveling to southern Maine to the Shaker Village.
The event will be held under a giant tent on the lawn surrounding the historic Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village that is home to the world’s only active Shaker Community and Maine’s largest National Historic Landmark.
“The Shakers and the Wabanaki are cultures, two or Maine’s oldest, that have linked for more than two centuries and today that linkage continues,” Graham says.
More than 40 members from the Wabanaki Nation, known as the People of the Dawn, will attend and include members of Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy, Micmac and Maliseet tribes.
And, this year’s event features new participants and a more diversified representation of traditional Wabanaki crafts, says Graham.
“In Maine’s native community, this event is becoming known and recognized for its worth by connecting artists with an audience they need and not always able to reach,” says Graham. Other Maine institutions, the Abby Museum in Bar Harbor and the Hudson Museum in Orono recognize Maine’s tribal artistry and history where gatherings are held annually.
The fancy baskets of brown ash with sweet grass adornments include complex patterns passed down and learned generation ally from ancestors to descendants using the same molds and same traditional patterns.
For example, Master Basket Maker Molly Neptune Parker, the matriarch of four generations of Passamaquoddy basket weavers will attend. In 2012, the National Endowment honored Parker as a National Heritage Fellow for the Arts and the recipient of a $25,000 award. She adorns her baskets with symbolic ash wood flowers, a technique learned from her mother, grandmother and from their great grandmothers.
“Not only are they passing tradition, but passing traditional styles of a family, symbols that honor their family, your teacher and your family’s traditions”, says Graham.
Fishermen and farmers used potato baskets and other utilitarian baskets over the centuries traditionally over and over again. These baskets proved strong and functional. Maine’s Native Tribes and the Shakers traveled on similar paths through Maine selling and demonstrating their wares using unique skills and award winning artistry.
Today many are considered fine art and have won prizes over the country by their makers as well as recognition from the government for the traditional arts that continue to be highly prized and valued.
Joining in the day will be performances of drumming, singing, dancing and story telling by the Burnurwurbskck Singers from the Penobscot Nation, and Micmac spiritual leader David Sanipass.
Participating artists include Dolly Barnes of Princeton; Mary Creighton of Pleasant Point; Barry and Lori Dana of Solon; Butch and Kelly Jacobs of Waldo; David Moses Bridges of Bar Harbor, Molly Neptune Parker of Princeton.
And, joining the festivities are David Sanipass of Buxton; Caron Shay of Old Town; Michael Silliboy of Houlton; Richard Silliboy of Littleton; Fred Tomah of Houlton; Frances Soctomah of Princeton and Jason and Donna Brown of Bangor.
Wabanaki art forms include beadwork and jewelry, basket making both from ash and sweet grass and birch bark.
A barbecue dinner will be for sale to the public while supplies last. The Shaker Store and Shaker Museum will be open, including guided tours of some of the Shaker’s earliest buildings and original furnishings.
The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is among Maine’s oldest working farms under its original management with sheep, cattle, bees, pigs, apple orchard, herb and vegetable gardens, hay fields, crop fields and sustainable managed timber lots.
FMI: 207-926 4597.