Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
53 Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-4289


Anatomy of a Packbasket
TAUNY Gallery
September 26 to December 31, 2009

Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Anatomy of a Packbasket, TAUNY’s fall exhibit, looks at the history of the Adirondack packbasket and the  process of making one. TAUNY Photography Director Martha Cooper spent several days in the woods and workshop of basketmaker Bill Smith of Colton. The result is this photographic description of the step-by-step process of creating this regional icon--from cutting the perfect black ash log to weaving in the final splints. The exhibit includes a display of antique and contemporary packbaskets.

Traditionally made from native black ash, the packbasket originated with Native Americans, who passed the form on to white settlers. Sturdy carriers for outsdoorsmen to wear on their back, packbaskets have in modern times been supplanted by factory-made nylon backpacks. Yet labor-intensive packbaskets are still made in this region, mostly as items for household use, and a few traditionalists still wear them in the woods.



The "Anatomy of a Packbasket" exhibit and related workshops and programs are possible thanks to generous underwriting support from Gray & Gray CPAs, Canton, Coakley Carpet One Ace Hardware in Canton and Saranac Lake, and Hyde-Stone Mechanical Contractors. 

Visit the Exhibits page of this website for more on past TAUNY exhibits.

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