Vendors in the National Folk Festival’s Folk Arts Marketplace sell traditional arts. These arts are learned as part of the cultural life of a group of people whose members share a common ethnic heritage, language, religion, occupation or culturally united geographic region. Folk and traditional arts are shaped by a community’s aesthetics and values and are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community through observation, conversation and practice.
Native American Traditional Arts
Maine’s native people – Micmacs, Maliseets, Passamaquoddys and Penobscots – present traditional woodcarving, basket making and beadwork.
Anita R. Ellis
Artist Anita Ellis grew up on a farm in Vassalboro and learned traditional basket making from William Neptune, a Passamaquoddy master basket maker. She has carved images of wildlife from an early age and will present both her carvings and her baskets in the marketplace.
Frances Frey (Passamaquoddy)
Beaded Quill Designs
Frances Frey comes from a family of bead workers and basket makers. As a child, she learned these skills from her grandmother and parents and later apprenticed with master basket maker Sylvia Gabriel. Her partner, Peter Moore, does woodcarving and moccasin making.
Penobscot War Clubs
Penobscot artist Stan Neptune apprenticed with medicine man and artist Senabeh Francis, learning to make ceremonial root clubs. Root clubs are a traditional art form originally used as weapons. Later, they were used in ceremonial dances and sold as tourist items. The clubs are made most often from the root burl of the birch tree. The earliest documented Penobscot root club dates from the 1700s. Stan and his son Joe will talk about their traditions at the Arts in the Woods narrative stage.
Knitting & Spinning
Artist Liz Ahern creates hand-spun and hand-knit sweaters from the wool of merino sheep. Her mother taught her to knit socks, scarves, hats and sweaters, worn by Maine families during the cold winters.
Maine’s Fine Fibers
Artist Joan Davis was 4 when she learned to knit from her baby sitter and later studied with Elizabeth Zimmerman and Alice Starmore. Joan began annual knitting cruises in 1993 and edits Knit ME, a newsletter for Maine knitters. Davis specializes in nautical and home-based knitting traditions, which include christening shawls and Christmas stockings.
Done Roving Farm & Carding Mill
The Farrar family breeds sheep with very heavy but extremely soft fleece. Paula Farrar uses the fleece for knitting clothes, braiding rugs and making blankets and quilts. Farrar was raised in Maine’s Washington County, where she learned to knit at the age of 5.
Vermeer’s Lace and Fiber Studio
Beeuw Van Knijeren learned to knit, crochet and embroider at age 6 from her mother. Van Knijeren immigrated to Maine from Delft, Netherlands, and started a small business selling her knitting. Every female in her family, as well as neighbors and friends, knew how to knit so Van Knijeren never needed lessons or patterns.
Ash Grove Spinning and Knitting
Lynn Winters grew up in a family where hands were never idle. She learned to make knitted and “fulled” items from hand-spun yarn from her own small flock of Romney Lincoln sheep. Fulling is a process that brings the fibers tightly together. From this wool, Winters makes warm mittens in the tradition of Atlantic Canada. She is a member of the Maine Spinners Registry and Maine Fiberarts.
Island Falls Canoe Company
The wood and canvas canoe is unique to Maine. The first canoes were made by Indians of birch bark, but as lumbering grew, the larger birch trees became scarce, and lumbermen began covering their birch canoes with canvas over a wooden frame. One of the earliest builders of wood canvas canes was Edward M. White, who set up shop in Gilman Falls, Maine. Later he opened a large factory in Old Town. The White Canoe Co. prospered from 1885 to 1984, when it was purchased by Old Town Canoe.
Jerry Stelmok learned to make boats in 1973 in a wooden boat building program on the Maine coast. He started his business in 1975, crafting E.M. White canoes in cooperation with Old Town Canoe Co. Each canoe is meticulously handcrafted over original White canoe forms.
Natalia Bragg is a founding member of the Aroostook County Herb Association and a 30-year practicing herbalist. Some of her family’s herbal traditions include Old Log Drivers Arthritic Formula, Balm of Gilead Healing Salve, Sweet Birch Complexion Cream and Stinky Feet Soap. The herbal remedies have been made for six generations in her family.
Maine Coast Herbals
Mary Mondello learned her family’s home remedies from her grandmother and grows her own herbs in greenhouses and in her gardens. She is a certified herbalist who prepares and sells herbal teas, tinctures, salves and facial creams.
Common Folk Farm and United Society of Shakers
Naples Village, Maine
Betsey-Ann Golm has been working with the 200-year-old herbal department of the Shaker community, where she teaches and acts as commissioned agent to sell herbal teas, seasonings and vinegars.
Pounded-ash splint baskets have been made in Aroostook County for centuries by the Acadians for harvesting potatoes and by woodsmen, sportsmen and trappers for pack baskets and fishing creels. Daigle learned to make baskets from her father and by watching master basket makers Eldon Hanning of Limestone and Edmond Theriault of Eagle Lake.
The Basket Tree
In northwestern Maine, guiding for sport hunting is a common occupation. Dorothy Lawrence makes woven backpacks for her three children, all Maine Guides, and for others to use in ice fishing, camping and fly-fishing. Lawrence learned from other Maine basket makers and is also teaching her daughter and granddaughter the craft. She makes traditional Maine Northwest Mountains work baskets.
Edward M. Harrow and his group are experienced carpenters, sign painters, craftspeople and furniture makers who have turned their skills to carving works of art. They carve traditional Maine duck and fish decoys.
John K. Jewell Woodcarvings
Jewell is a co-founder of the Penobscot Bay Carvers and Artists
Association and a member of the Maine and National Woodcarvers associations. He makes decoys and old-style bird carvings and has done woodcarving as a hobby most of his life.
Peterson learned traditional Swedish woodcarving from his family. He is a carpenter by trade and a woodworker since childhood. He makes pickle forks for pickled herring and ladles for rice pudding for the family’s holiday smorgasbord. He makes wooden spoons, utensils, rolling pins and dough bowls.
Woodsculpture by Laurie Stearns
Laurie and Fern Stearns are a mother-daughter team who carve and whittle items from wood. The Stearnses hail originally from Mexico, Maine, where they lived on a farm. Laurie has a particular skill for making images of Maine wildflowers out of wood.
Fine Pine Designs
Jim & Linda Leach
Jim Leach apprenticed as a machinist but then adapted his metalworking skills to woodworking. Together, the Leaches make finished hardwood furniture and accessory pieces such as folding, collapsible English berry baskets.
Todd Lufkin began woodworking in his parents’ basement at the age of 8. His grandfather taught him how to use woodworking tools. He works in a lumber mill and is a volunteer firefighter when he is not making wooden trucks, excavators and firetrucks.
Dallas Seger learned woodworking skills from his grandfather and shop teacher at Old Town High School. His interest in woodworking has been encouraged and supported by his family, especially his grandfather, who is an accomplished woodworker. He also has an interest in music and began handcrafting guitar basses at the age of 16.
The Spring Street Co.
Ginger Phelps learned to quilt by collaborating with an older relative while living in Southwest Harbor. She passed on her knowledge to Gabriella D’Italia, and they have worked on projects together for several years. Ginger Phelps has been sewing since she was 7, and has been the resident costume designer for the Penobscot Theatre Company’s Maine Shakespeare Festival in Bangor.
D’Italia also started sewing when she was 7 and as a young adult attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She also works with Phelps in the costume shop. Their quilts reflect a cross-generational blend of old and new.
John J. Halloran Glenburn, Maine
Using woolens acquired at Maine’s only remaining woolen mill in Oxford, Halloran braids traditional rugs. He also passes on his skills through rug-braiding classes given throughout the Greater Bangor area.
Doublejays Rug Studio
Long Island, Maine
Jill D. McCollum comes from a family of rug hookers. Both her mother and grandmother created hooked rugs by pulling strips of wool through burlap. McCollum founded “Hooked on Healing,” a program whose mission is to help those suffering from mental disorders through creating. She also makes unique wedding rugs to order.
Maine Island Rag Rugs
Mary Ann Small learned to knit at the age of 5 and has been spinning and knitting ever since. She learned to weave on a loom and to make hand-woven rag rugs. She starts with cotton warp, strips and rolls fabric into balls, and then weaves them into wall hangings, bags and pillows, as well as traditional rugs.
Susan E.A. Dickson-Smith, a native of southwestern Maine, learned her art as a girl living in a community of Maine artists. All the bowls and other dishes in her home were made by people she knows. After graduating from college, Dickson apprenticed with April Adams of Columbia Falls Pottery. She is passing her skills on to the next generation by teaching children in her family.
Appalachian Resources Inc.
Terrence C. Williamson worked for about 30 years in mineral exploration in the eastern United States and Canada. He was encouraged by his mother, who made jewelry, to try his hand at it. His jewelry is made with sterling silver and gold-filled wire and gemstones. The jewelry is solderless and is made by hand with simple tools including pliers, cutters and hammers.
Wrenovations Stained Glass Creations
Mark Wren always loved stained glass and learned to create it as an offshoot of his occupations as a millwright and carpenter. At first, he began making stained glass items as gifts and now sells them as a business.
Robert Moore was 10 when he began assisting a neighbor in tapping maple trees. He became very interested in the process and built his own homemade “evaporator” from a 50-gallon barrel. He has been perfecting his craft for 60 years and has a retail shop connected to his sugaring house. He was past president of Maine Maple Producer’s Association and a member of several art and craft organizations.