The Maine Crafts Association announces the MCA 2013 Master Craft Artist Award Winner: Theresa Secord, Penobscot basket maker.

The Maine Crafts Association, a statewide non-profit organization promoting the work of Maine’s craft artists, has named Penobscot basket maker Theresa Secord of Waterville, Maine as the MCA 2013 Master Craft Artist. Secord was selected for this award equally for a career of excellence in her own craft work as well as deep contributions to craft in Maine, specifically support of native basket makers.

The Maine Crafts Association is proud to join a long list organizations and institutions, such as the Maine Arts Commission and First People’s Fund, who have recognized how Secord’s basketry, dedication, relationships and arts administration skills have contributed to traditional craft in Maine and throughout the United States.

Theresa Secord began making baskets in the 1980’s. She apprenticed in the first year of the Maine Arts Commission’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program. Now a master in her own right, Theresa Secord regularly shows her work at such National Indian Markets as the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market in Arizona, the Eiteljorg Museum Indian Market in Indianapolis and the Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico, where she has won several Best of Basketry distinctions, first places, judge’s awards and special purchase awards. A passionate cultural advocate for this endangered tradition, Secord was honored in Geneva with the Prize for Creativity in Rural Life at the UN and was named a 2009 Community Spirit Award Recipient by the First Peoples Fund. In 2011 Secord was named at the Maine Arts Commission Traditional Arts Fellow. In March 2013, Theresa won first place in Traditional Basketry at the Heard Museum Indian Market. Her baskets have been purchased by collectors throughout the US and have appeared in several exhibitions, the most notable, The Language of Native American Baskets, from the Weaver’s View at National Museum of the American Indian (2003-2005).

In 1993, Theresa led the founding of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, a native run cultural organization whose mission is to preserve traditional ash and sweetgrass basketry among all four tribes in Maine, to address barriers associated with sustaining the art form in the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and Micmac Tribes. Through her leadership, she is credited with helping to save Maine Indian basketry, having lowered the average age of basket makers from 63 to 40 in two decades and numbers of weavers have increased from 55 to 200.

Secord is one of Maine’s established, nationally renowned craftspeople with an extensive career in making and outreach in craft. She is being honored in the fifth year of the MCA Master Craft Award program for her excellent craftsmanship, inspired design, and the singular voice demonstrated by her body of work.

Supporters of Theresa Secord, Maine Indian Basket Makers Alliance, and the Maine Crafts Association are invited to attend the award ceremony Thursday May 9th during a special reception at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle Maine. The public is invited to attend the award presentation from 6:30-7:30, which will include the award presentation, a gift of a unique Master Craft Artist pin made especially for Secord by MCA Professional Member Christine Peters Hamilton, followed by a slide show presentation by Secord.