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Write Around PAM: Mary Adams

At two inches by two inches in diameter, this piece by Mary Adams (Mohawk, Canadian) feels quintessentially “small but mighty” and so full of intricate beauty. In these fraught days, we invite you to spend some time writing in this spirit of “small but mighty,” knowing that each of us has a mighty role to play in creating caring communities. Adams began weaving baskets at age 10 to support her family and went on to become an international artist recognized for her innovative designs and exquisite work. Before or after you write, listen to Adams tell the story of how she started weaving and read the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s tribute to her life and art.

We have two prompts to help you get started. As always, you can choose one, both, or write whatever else comes. Set a timer for 6 mins and just keep your pen moving.

In this moment… / If you look closely…

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the winter. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM 

Strawberry Basket by Mary Adams (Mohawk, Canadian), 2 inches x 2 inches, ash splints and commercial die. This tiny basket with a lid is a natural golden color overall and topped with a decorative loop handle that is dyed green to imitate leaves and a stem. The whole basket has a bumpy texture due to the weave of the materials. The weave creates rows of small looping circles that hug the surface with the open ends of the loops facing outward. They are tilted slightly downward on the body of the basket and more upward on the lid. Around the edge of the lid, where it meets the body of the basket, the weaving materials are bound together with a splint spiralling around the edge. It looks very much like an unripe strawberry with the dark shadowy centers of each of the loops resembling rows of seeds.

Mary Adams (Mohawk, Canadian, 1917–1999). Strawberry Basket, 1988. Ash splints and commercial dye. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by bequest of Elizabeth Cole Butler by exchange, 2014.56.2 © unknown, research required