Certificate: Natural Resources Technician, Northland College
I am a northern Wisconsin native, having spent my life being raised both in Ashland and on the Bad River Reservation. I am the mother of four, having raised my children in the forest near our home. I had always been active with my hands, sometimes beading or sewing mukluks, but had really found my niche back in 1998 when I began what I like to think of as an intimate relationship with a black ash basket. As a gentle educator, I have been sharing this knowledge with all interested parties ever since.
I grew up in Ashland and eventually attended Northland in the early 90s. The College was very different back then. I felt an easy connection with the setting and with the professors and feel honored to be part of it now.
I share my working knowledge of black ash basketry both far and wide and enjoy it so much that I have spent the past twenty years doing so. Engaging others in such tactile and creative ways is an amazing experience that can empower and heal. I appreciate this about basketry.
With an avid interest in all things black ash basket related, my work has led me to many places. As a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellow, my work has taken me to New York and Massachusetts and a few other places in between, perusing the collections for tools and ideas and design elements and mindsets. As an Artist in Residence for the Minnesota Historical Society, I was able to continue my travels to include many parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The connection between baskets being made here and there is really the greater story for me.
Depending upon the focus, students can be involved with so many parts of the process, some of which can include identification and harvest, all the way to raw material processing and finished product. Students are typically involved in the critical thought process every step of the way.
I grew up swimming in Lake Superior. I love spending summer days at Joe Rose's when the wind is just right. It's not unusual for me to bring something to work on while I'm there.