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Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum

Basket, Gathering


Accession number: 2003.23.01
Date: 1862 – January 1 1945
Materials: wood, red maple (Acer rubrum)
Measurements: 31 cm L x 28 cm W x 15 cm DepthNot exact
Culture: Black Nova Scotian
Narrative: This basket was authenticated by Clara Gough, the great granddaughter of Mary Jackson Sparks. Gough has one of her great grandmother's baskets. It was first owned (probably purchased) by Mrs. James (Nan) Harrison then given to Marian Tulloch. It later went to Dorothy & Winston Settle. Women employing the black basketry tradition used only red maple (Acer rubra) saplings, 2 - 3 inches in diameter, to weave their baskets. Used green, the wood is halved and quartered with hunting knives or jack-knives. It is then split along the growth lines into heavier pieces for handles and rims, and into thinner ribbon-like strips for weaving. The circular handle and rim, bound together at their intersectin in a characteristic cross, form the framework of the Black market-basket. Sometimes, natural dyes made from barks of alder and birch trees are used to dye the weavers (splits). At Easter time, colourful synthetic aniline dyes were used. Women continue to sell their work at the Halifax City Market, a tradition that bega soon after their families came to Nova Scotia from the southern United States in the late 1700s. (Source; Nova Scotia Museum INFO Sheet: Nova Scotia Traditions - Basketry)
Description: The basket is made from red maple. The circular handle is made from one piece of red maple that loops through the basket for added strength. The basket rim is raised at the ends and is likewise formed by one piece of wood. The handle and rim intersect and are fastened by a crossed piece of red maple split.