|My mom and dad.
ssipsis and Ken Thompson.
They were building our
home on Indian Island.
My Great grand mother, Camella -
ssipsis. Selling baskets in New
Learn a little bit about Pam outdusis "Little Pathway" Cunningham
I am a Penobscot. A federally recognized tribal member.
And a Master Basket Weaver. A weaver and maker and lover of using my
traditional skills to turn relationships and my craft into unique art.
My mother, ssipsis, is full blooded Penobscot Indian (a federally
recognized Tribe) and my father was Irish and a good man. A lawyer by
trade and a friend to many. He died when I was young. But, I remember
Him :) My mother excelled in her crafts and art and a story teller to be
treasured. Educated in social work and tribal stuff, she loves all people
and appreciates humor and self expression art. I am blessed to have such
I am Penobscot, of the Turtle clan. I could say "born and raised" on the
island...but I was born at Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor, Maine,
then brought home and raised on Oak Hill, Indian Island, Maine, USA. The
same hill my mom was born on.
It was this place that I was given my Penobscot name ~outdusis~
Looking for a short cut to my friend's home, I spent all morning walking
back and forth from my home to my friend's, making ~ a little pathway.
I love every aspect, every step of my basket making. I relish the fact that,
in most ways, I am following in the footsteps of my ancestors. Many of
the oldest and simplest traditions continue, from splitting and gauging
fiber from the ash tree, to hand weaving each basket, to picking
sweetgrass and then braiding it, for weaving into my baskets. Traditional
and contemporary baskets, berry baskets, collector baskets, and time
honored originals like the sweetgrass flats, even my own new creations
like the Honor basket, sweet heart, Mother Earth Egg, prayers for
Humanity acorn basket...
I spend my time making baskets within walking distance of the rive
r that surrounds my birth/home land, Indian Island, Maine, USA. There
is a strong connection between the Penobscot River and my people,
Wabanaki, who use the brown ash and sweetgrass that grow along the
riverbanks and down to the coast, in honor of this relationship.
The brown ash used to make my fancy baskets is hand selected and
harvested for stripping the bark and pounding the trunk until the growth
rings can be pulled off in long splints.
I split, scrape and gauge these splints into weavers, standards and points
used to make my baskets.
I've hand picked the
sweetgrass, blade by blade along the coast of Maine. A job that involves
a great deal of nature at it's most natural...spiders, mud, clam flats, ticks,
cutting grass, horse f
lies and what some say- biting grass hoppers! Then soaking the harvested
, cleaned and dried grass to be able to finely braid three strands together
locking in other strands to achieve the continuous braid.
These baskets symbolize my honor and desire to keep my native tra
ditions and culture alive.
I offer you traditionally hand made baskets. These unique baskets are
signed and dated.
In addition to the time that I spend
working with the ash and sweetgrass, I also keep involved in other activ
ities that help promote not only the economic aspect of basket makin
g but also increase awareness of the history of the art.
These activities include:
*Official member of the Wabanaki Branding Program.
* Present, teaching basketmaking for the Indian Island School,
after~school program. grades 3-8
*2006-2008, Penobscot Indian Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation
*2007-2008, Chair-lady of the Penobscot Indian Nation Cultural and
Historic Preservation Committee.
*Many past workshops and demonstrations.
*As a Master Weaver through the Maine Traditional Art's Commission
apprenticeship program, since 1999.
*Tribal Resource Specialist, January-September 2005, for the Penobscot
Indian Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation Department, working on
school curriculum for LD291.
* 1999 Maine Arts Commission award as a Master for my first
*Membership on the Maine Indian Basket Makers Alliance (MIBA) Board of
Directors, from 1998-2002.
* Made my first basket in 1993 as I worked with my tribe doing Home
Health and Hospice.
Your support in helping keep the traditions and culture of Maine Native
tribes alive is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your interest in Maine Indian Basketry.
Woliwoni -Thank you-
I've been making baskets since 1994.
It has helped me be able to stay at
home and with the help of my
husband, raise our sons. I am truly,
|To place an order contact me by e-mail
or you can call/text me at:
or write to me at:
Pam outdusis Cunningham
208 Old County Rd
Hampden, ME, USA
Payment in full when order is placed.
Checks, money orders,
Visa/Mastercard or Discover and
|Penobscot Fancy Baskets Hand Crafted from Brown Ash and Sweetgrass
by Pam outdusis Cunningham