Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum: Scholarships Available for Native American Arts Classes

New Hampshire teachers and low-income residents can receive scholarships to attend the Native American Living Arts Program at Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, Education and Cultural Center in Warner.  The program offers a monthly hands-on class designed to promote understanding and appreciation of how the artifacts in the Museum were made and used and to help preserve and promote traditional Native arts and skills for future generations. Classes are appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Classes meet the first Saturday of each month through June and include beadwork, pottery, porcupine quillwork, twined basket making, star quilt making and its historical/cultural significance, flute making and playing, and hand drum making.

Fees range from $25 – $75 and financial assistance (50 to 100% of class costs) is available for first and second year K-12 teachers and low-income state residents.

Next class: Twined Basketry with Julia Marden, Aquinnah Wampanoag, is December 4 at 9 am.

Twined Basketry once widely practiced throughout the northeast, declined in the 19th century due to the widespread adoption of wood splint basketry. Twining is known from only a small sampling of surviving baskets and archaeological fragments. The traditional materials used included corn husks, grasses, rushes, bark fibers, and cordage made from native plants such as milkweed, dogbane (Indian hemp), and false nettle.

Twining has seen a limited revival amongst the Wampanoag and Narragansett. Most of those who create twined bags and baskets use commercial fibers such as hemp, jute, linen, and cotton. Occasionally traditional fibers are used. Julia Marden is one of the more talented artists. She uses designs derived from northeast woodland cultures. Her work is noted for the particularly tight quality of the twining. In addition to twined basketry she also twines sashes and garters for ceremonial dress.

For more information, class schedule, registration form and financial assistance application visit www.indianmuseum.org or contact the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum at 603-456-2600. Class sizes are limited, preregistration is strongly recommended.

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