Pack Basket Workshop with Georges River Land Trust

Posted Aug. 17, 2012, at 10:07 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 17, 2012, at 11:09 a.m.
Wanda wears her pack basket while guiding a nature walk in the Rockland Bog.
Wanda wears her pack basket while guiding a nature walk in the Rockland Bog.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Pack Basket workshop, Hope, Maine

For more information: Georges River Land Trust; 207-594-5166;

Join the Georges River Land Trust and Wanda Garland, naturalist, in Hope, Maine, on Saturday September 8th for a pack basket-making workshop. Experience first-hand the age-old tradition of making your own sturdy pack basket. The program will run from 8 am to 4 pm with a break for lunch. Wanda, who has been making pack baskets most of her life, will provide step by step instructions as well as materials so that each participant will have their own pack basket by the end of the day.

Baskets have always been part of Wanda’s life growing up in Aroostook County where hand-made baskets were important for the potato harvest. Most woodsmen, trappers and hunters carried pack baskets as well. When she began to make traditional brown ash baskets, she learned that her great grandmother was a basket maker. After moving to the coast, she learned from Jean Moss, an expert local basket maker, how to weave with Asian cane. “I enjoy weaving baskets that have a purpose. Teaching others to make baskets is a pleasure and an opportunity to pass on the knowledge and tradition,” notes Wanda.

While pack baskets have been around for centuries, the finest come from northern Maine, where the Penobscot Indians have the best materials to choose from, primarily ash, which never becomes brittle. In the colder climate of Maine, ash trees have a shorter growing season. This means the growth rings are smaller, producing a thinner, stronger strip to weave a superior pack basket. According to Wanda, Asian cane works equally well, is more widely available and less expensive to use. For this workshop, she will be teaching with the sturdy Asian cane.

Cynthia Hyde and Jim Kennelly have kindly offered to host the event at their farm in Hope, Maine. The program costs $30 for materials including basket weaver’s cane, and participation is limited to 12 people. Please call (207) 594-5166 by September 1st to register and get additional information.

This event is part of Georges River Land Trust’s Walks & Talks series, an effort to introduce the community to the wonderful resources available to them in the St. George River watershed. For more information, please visit or call at (207) 594-5166.