WAAS • their work to be spotted in museums, tribal buildings, casinos and other art venues across Turtle Island. Even more impressive, the Kruse’s were honored as Minnesota ArtistsinResidencefor2015.Thisallowedthemtofurtherexplorewiigwaasandother potential creative avenues to try. Most importantly, it afforded them the opportunity to study the history and learn about old basket patterns thatAnishinaabeg used to make. “Every basket has a unique purpose; some for storing manoomin, others for winnowing. Our ancestors never cease to amaze me for their innovative approaches,” says Gauge. When asked about materials, Kruse smiles and pulls out an old piece of bark and lays it on the table. “This piece of bark is over 80 years old.” He smiles as he rolls the bark. “Sometimes people will bring me old bark and I can clean it up and still use it to make strong baskets. It’s hard to find a similar natural material as durable as wiigwaas.” Kruse shows us a few contemporary baskets made of the old bark. Staring at a mural of beautifully intricate birchbark pieced together to make images, I ask Pat what it is that inspires his work. He replies “I’m inspired by all the Anishi- naabeg that have come before us. I am inspired by our modern Ojibwe artists as well. Most of all, I’m inspired by anyone that works with nature and the environment: these people always seem to understand what it means to be humble and are often times content during hard economic times. They truly understand the value of what was given to us.” Lashing the old teachings with modern technique, it’s safe to say these ways and teachings will survive. Much like the 80 year old wiigwaas, still strong enough to work with, Anishinaabe teachings and traditions are durable enough to withstand the wither of time. Make your own sugar basket: 3-4 holes on the seams Stitch the seams with sinew Scribe (with an awl or similar tool) (Hint: Use a copier to enlarge the basket to whatever size you need.) baskets of our ancestors • • • • • • • • • • • • Finished sugar basket. Pat and Gage Kruse collaborated on this 2014 birch-bark appliqué makak (storage container) with cover. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.) Kruse is famous across Indian Country for his use of traditional basket patterns with elaborate and intricate birch bark layered designs. The florals and designs stand out and have also been popular at art galleries and competitions around the region. (D. Jennings photo) An 80 year old piece of wiigwaas sits on a work bench, about to be worked into a new creation. (D. Jennings photo) PAGE 11 MAZINA’IGAN