Adams, Wedding Cake Basket, 1995. Sweetgrass
and black ash splints. 20x13x13 inches.
Born in 1917 on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation on the U.S.-Canadian
Mary Adams began basket weaving as a young child. By the time she was
ten, she bartered her sewing baskets for groceries. She married, bore
twelve children, and has continued to make baskets for income and to fulfill
her creative need. She says, "Making baskets is my medicine. I'll die
if I don't keep making baskets."
Wedding Cake Basket fuses Mohawk and Iroquois basket weaving with
the Western European ritual of the wedding cake, using materials such
as sweetgrass fibers and splints made from black ash logs.
Today Adams lives on the Mohawk Reservation in St. Regis, Quebec, where
she teaches basket weaving at the reservation's museum.