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Maine Sewing Items, Scissor Basket and Curly Thimble Basket circa 1920-1930

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betweenthelens's loves935 of 1685Native American sewing accessories to go with sewing basket. Maine  Sea Urchin Basket, 1890-1910
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    Posted 7 years ago

    Tlynnie1942
    (134 items)

    I purchased these two baskets and received them today, and I am very happy to add them to my Native American basketry collection. They are a Thimble Basket and a Scissors Basket, made from splints taken from the Ash Tree and Sweet Grass collected by the artist. These were made around 1920-1930. These amazing miniatures are indicative of Master Artist Theresa Camilla Lyon Sockalexis, (Penobscot) who wove miniature sewing baskets. Sewing baskets were very popular with the women of the times (1880-1935) and Native American women would make sewing baskets to sell at the train station and other places that had alot of tourists. Some would just sell the large sewing basket alone, but the tourist women would also have other options to go with their large sewing basket. Those were the small Button basket with a lid, the Thimble holder basket, a Needle holder basket and a Scissors holder basket. They would sell those to go with the large sewing basket, or they could just buy the small baskets. The Native American women would take colorful ribbons and tie the ribbons to a hollow ivory circle. Then they would tie in the miniature baskets and sell them as a Chatelaine. The tourists would snap them up to take back home and show them to their friends at their sewing circles. It is hard to find sewing baskets with all the little baskets inside them still, and even harder to find baskets that are not damaged. I have two sewing baskets with all the little sewing baskets inside and intact but it took years of active searching to find them, and the color of the basket still vivid and with no damage. One was made around 1890 and the other one was made later, around 1920 and I am happy to have both of them because they show how the style changed from the older basket to the newer one. And now I have found this beautiful miniature Thimble basket and the Scissors basket to add to my Native American sewing basket collection. And even better than that, there is a good chance that these two were woven by Theresa Camilla Lyon Sockalexis. She used the Curly in her weaving of Button Baskets, Sewing Baskets and also in the tiny Thimble Basket, as shown in the picture. The Thimble Basket is one inch by half inch round, and the Scissors Basket is three and a half inches in length by a half inch (at the top of the basket). These two were woven at the same time and were made to go together for sale, and the coloring is the same for both. They are a wonderful Blue-Green and the Thimble has the tiny and amazing curly weave. It is very hard to weave miniatures and it must have taken a very deft and stable hand to weave this small, it kinda blows my mind that it could even be done without breaking the splint. There are only a few weavers today that make true miniature baskets, Ganessa Frey is one. And although I cannot say for sure that it was Theresa Camilla Lyon Sockalexis that wove these two beauties, I can say they look very much like her work, the color of both the baskets is one that she used a lot, and these two miniature baskets are very old. Enjoy the pics :)

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    Comments

    1. Zowie Zowie, 7 years ago
      Hi they are stunning for one thing. I was thinking maybe it could of been done by a child under her teaching. That way it's possible to relate to her style of work.
    2. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 7 years ago
      i love Penobscot/Micmac baskets like these! do you think these were for needles and thread?
    3. Tlynnie1942 Tlynnie1942, 7 years ago
      Ho2cultcha, I know these kinds of very small baskets were made to hold items used in sewing. I have a sewing basket up on this site, from 3 years ago and it has these kinds of tiny baskets attached inside. It has the needle case, thimble basket (with thimble inside), pin cushion and scissors basket. And all those baskets inside are actually attached to the sewing basket itself to keep them from getting lost. These were a favorite of women in the early 1900's and before, they sold very well. The women would then show the sewing basket off at her sewing circle, and the other women would then get one for themselves. Most of these sewing baskets get damaged from normal use over a long period of time. The handles break, the lids from button baskets and thimble baskets get damaged and the needle cases would get rust stains from needles left in. To find a sewing basket intact is awesome and it took me a long time to find one.
    4. Tlynnie1942 Tlynnie1942, 7 years ago
      Zowie, unless you have provenance that proves who made a basket , how can say? I can only say the style of the thimble basket is indicative of Theresa Camilla Lyon Sockalexis, that is it even though it is a really good possibility it was her. It could be from a person who learned from her, but they would have to be amazing weavers. The curly weave on the thimble basket is extremely difficult to do, especially on a miniature.
    5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      Very, very nice !!!!!
    6. Zowie Zowie, 7 years ago
      Hey slow down a bit it was just a suggestion to give a thought to. For all we know it could be graduation the point is how does really know. For one I don't never said I did just implied use some thought it helps when researching any item. Have a good day
    7. Tlynnie1942 Tlynnie1942, 7 years ago
      Zowie, it's cool really. I am sorry if you think I was upset, I am really not. It is provenance that gives extra value to a item. Without it, you got nothing. Most old baskets have no provenance, but every once in a while you see something that a daughter is selling of their mothers. The mother would write a note to put in the basket that tells of where they got it and who made it. Those are the jackpot of Native American basket collector, or any collector of anything for that matter lol. I do have some baskets that have provenance, and the crazy thing is for most of them I paid less for it than I did of others that the seller knew what they had. Take it easy, Zowie and thanks for the comment. :)
    8. Zowie Zowie, 7 years ago
      This has finely showed up in the jumble anyway that bit of history is great that's all I was doing giving people a way of thinking outside the picture. No problems have a top day.
    9. JoyB JoyB, 7 years ago
      Wow that is really awesome!

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