Visit the Artists of the Madawaska Valley

Beaux Arbres Basketry

Beaux Arbres Basketry
Michael Peterson
Summer tour and Fall tour

I have been making baskets for some 28 years. Sparked by patterns in woven fabric, patterns in baskets from different cultures slowly revealed themselves and I became more interested in their structure and use. I seek out basketmakers wherever I travel, which has given me incredible experiences and some fine baskets as well.

Three people have been mentors and teachers to me. I met Ankaret Dean and took my first course from her in Ottawa. My basket interests took me to Toronto and basketry conferences. There I met and was taught by Edith Clayton, a Black basketmaker from Nova Scotia, well known for the influence of African slave basketmakers and of Mi’kmaq basketry in Nova Scotia. My third mentor was Ray Sark, a Mi’kmaq from Lennox Island Reserve on PEI.

My baskets have been available at farmers’ markets in Chelsea, Pontiac, Bristol, and Ottawa (Westboro), craft shows (Fibrefest), craft markets (Portage du Fort weekend markets), the Stone School Gallery in Portage du Fort, and studio tours (Madawaska Valley Studio Tour, Red Trillium Studio Tour, Crown and Pumpkin Tour, Maple Run Tour).

I demonstrate basketmaking techniques at most of the events I participate in and I offer talks about the history of baskets, the variety of materials used to make baskets in many countries, foraging natural materials, preparation of materials, and basic basketry techniques. I have done commission works for customers, and I teach workshops to adults and children.

My basketry studio is generally “under canvas” at Beaux Arbres, a Pioneer farm (circa 1845), where I enjoy the historical context and the natural surroundings.