Fancy porcupine-weave basket, Penobscot, 1862


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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