Traditional Handmade Black Ash Baskets
Fran Doonan makes traditional black ash baskets, handmade from ash log to finished basket. Native Americans knew that pounding black ash logs would loosen each year's growth ring, yielding basket strips of exceptional strength and beauty. Although many basketmakers today use sawn ash, thereby reducing hand labor, strength and quality are sacrificed because sawing cuts across the grain. Traditional methods and top quality are Fran's priority; many hours and much love go into her baskets.
The black ash tree is in environmental trouble, making it more and more difficult to find healthy trees of basket quality. This scarcity, combined with the fact that there are few people making baskets from this traditional material, gives lasting value to these baskets. In Maine and some others regions, “black ash” is usually called “brown ash”.
Our online store offers our most requested pounded split black ash baskets: pounded black ash pack baskets, pounded black ash creels, split black ash harvest and split black ash market baskets, pie and bread baskets, and numerous others. If you don’t see what you’d like e-mail us. We have other hand woven black ash baskets available which are not in our catalog. In addition, custom sized pounded black ash baskets may be commissioned. Let us know what you need and we’ll give you a quote and time schedule.
Fran also teaches others to make split black ash baskets through courses at the Maine Journeys workshop in Glenburn, Maine.