Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pack Basket Making

For the longest time, I've wanted to make a pack basket.  With some good fortune, organization, and hard work that dream became a reality this week as I now proudly own two smaller pack baskets ready for my little ice fishing beauties.  The taller one was my own effort whereas the shorter made by a student.  Let's get to the story...

Ray Reitze
I learned of a traditional pack basket course offered by the Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott, Maine (next stop Lubec the easternmost town in the U.S.A.) and inquired about the opportunity to attend.  After a few emails, I rounded up six people to attend the seminar but scheduling became difficult on the center's end.  Rather than throw in the towel, we began to discuss the possibility of bringing the seminar a bit west to my regional high school.  This is where things exploded into a full blown course!

With some scholarships available for my students and partial funding by the local boosters club, 13 high school students signed up for the day long course with Ray Reitze, a Master Maine Guide and expert in many traditional activities.  For us, the opportunity to make a trapper's basket woven with reeds freehand and no mold became a reality.

The school library became a pack basket making factory
You might remember this guy for his guest post... click HERE
We began at 8:00 a.m. and after six plus hours of measuring, aligning, weaving, and setting, most baskets were completed.  Those students who were dismissed early for the softball/baseball games had the opportunity to finish the very next day as I took the time to fully understand the process.  In reflection, I'm impressed and pleased with the total effort involved from all parties.  I'd like to thank Ray and Nancy Reitze for sharing their talents, Carrie Callahan of the CCLC for bringing the workshop to our region, and the students for their endurance and appreciation of our completed traditional pack basket.

For information about the Cobscook Community Learning Center please click HERE.

To learn more about Ray Reitze, the Old Turtle, please click HERE.

For a link to the variety of courses offered by the CCLC please click HERE.

I look forward to attending more workshops as they become available and can't wait to make a larger ice fishing basket.  Learning never stops and I'm thankful to try my hand as this wonderful craft.


  1. Very cool brother! Nice purse!

  2. "It's not a purse!.... It's European!"

  3. It's called a satchel, Indiana Jones wears one.


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