Here in McDonald’s Corners the taps are coming out and the trees are being prepared for maple syrup time...and so...I got to thinking about maple trees and how they have been. used for basket making... which led me to Nova Scotia and the history of making rib baskets using red maple saplings
Turn back the clock to the early 1900s where there was a thriving black community in Halifax. Coming from a tradition of making rib baskets, they were unable to find any suitable materials to use. Knowing that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ they turned to experimenting with the local trees and shrubs. Here they discovered that the red maple saplings could be cut down and split into ribs handles and weavers to make rib baskets. So successful was that discovery, that they started selling them in the Halifax market. Edith Clayton and her family made baskets and sold them in the market for years, her daughter has carried on the tradition.Edith has become a local folk hero in the world of basketry. Joleen Gordon wrote a book about here which was published by the Nova Scotia Museum.
I have never had much success splitting a red maple sapling, I wonder if anybody else has?