Fancy porcupine-weave basket, Penobscot, 1862

Contributed by Abbe Museum

This record was added to Maine Memory Network through the efforts of a student at George Stevens Academy. More info about student projects.


Though this porcupine-weave basket has been attributed to Molly Molasses (or Mary Pelagie, 1775-1867), it is not certain that she made it. But, it is known that Molly Molasses sold a variety of Penobscot-made wares around Bangor and Brewer through the first part of the 19th century.

A porcupine weave is made by folding and pinching the splints so that they created spikey points. Molasses was known to have done this to create a visual interest and make the basket appear more fancy.

Mary Pealgie Nicola, also known as Molly Molasses was a Penobscot woman who was born about 1775. Molasses lived until the age of 92 and had a reputation in the Bangor area for fine work. She was painted, photographed and written about in books and local newspapers. Her baskets were considered to be art rather than souvenirs.

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About This Item

  • Title: Fancy porcupine-weave basket, Penobscot, 1862
  • Creator: Molly Molasses
  • Creation Date: 1862
  • Subject Date: 1862
  • Location: Brewer, Penobscot County, ME
  • Media: Ash
  • Dimensions: 9 cm x 15.25 cm x 15.25 cm
  • Local Code: 1914
  • Collection: Mary Cabot Wheelwright Collection
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Abbe Museum
26 Mount Desert Street, PO Box 286, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
(207) 288-3519

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