Basket Weaver Biographies

Ann McRae McIsaac

A Basket Weaver is one who advocates a
simple, natural and  unsophisticated life.
My name is Ann McRae McIsaac. I was born in Judes Point, P.E.I. My ancestors are Acadian and Scottish.
I am proud to call myself a Basket Weaver.
Being raised rurally and by the sea, I was given the farming and fishing experience in my youth.
I was married in 1966 and have 3 natural children as well as 2 foster daughters and 1 foster son.  My husband and I and our 2 oldest children lived in Windsor Ontario for a few years but we moved back because we missed the Island and of course, our families.
In 1985 when I joined a Co-op I was given the opportunity to train in the art of Traditional Ash Splint Basketry. I developed a sense of belonging in nature and was so grateful for the gifts of water, air and soil.
I trained under Acadian Jimmy Chaisson and  Mi’Kmaq’s Junior Peter Paul and Tommy Sark, all masters in basket weaving.  Training with masters in basket weaving enabled me to develop not only a career in basket weaving, but, also a deep passion and connection with the history, development and art of Traditional Ash Splint Basketry.
My formal  education consists of high school in Tignish, a Bookkeeping and Business Management course in PEI, Office Manager Course in  Toronto and Professional Foster Parenting course on PEI.
Since joining the Co-op in 1985, I have done many workshops in Ash Splint Basketry from PEI to Ontario.
My work history varied prior to becoming involved in basket weaving. A few of my positions include; Bank teller, Fashion Retail, Waitress, Full time Mom, The Fish Industry and Professional Foster Parenting. I found my passion in 1985 as a full time Weaver and trainer in the Art of Traditional Ash Splint Basketry.
My career as a Professional Basket Weaver and manager of the Co-op has involved a large variety of roles, including, but not limited to; training new staff, maintenance of inventory, supplies and bookkeeping and developing a relationship with other Island crafters. These years have been rewarding as well as, mentally, physically and spiritually challenging but I wouldn’t change it for the world!!!!

If there is kindness in the weaving and kindness in the weaver then the basket will prosper.

Nora Richard

She was born in Richmond, Prince Edward Island.  She is of Mi’ Kmaq & Acadian descent. Her mother was Pearline LaBobe of Lennox Island and her father was Edmond Gallant of Egmont Bay, PEI. Nora is a twin and was one of thirteen children. She married at 18 and had a daughter and a son, and is now a grandmother of two.  Though she had memories of visiting the Lennox Island Reserve as a child, she had lived away most of her adult life. After her children were raise, she had the time to explore her background and heritage to a greater extent. She became involved more with her first nations people and serve four years as Vice President of the Native Council of PEI. Nora found that she was strongly drawn to native craft, in particular the art of  Basket Making, for which the Mi’Kmaq people had been well know for centuries. She tried her hand, for the first time in 2007, at weaving ash baskets. In a short number of years, she has mastered the art and is now even designing her own unique patterns and style. ” It must be in my blood, ” Nora often says when complimented on her skill at basket making. Nora had the honour of  designing and making three baskets, which were presented to Kate and William, (the Royals) by Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island, on their recent visit to PEI. Mi’Kmaq baskets, though attractive and decorative were also and still are very serviceable. Nora say, I am continually asking the Universe to grant me visions of very unique baskets, that have yet to be made. ” Her dream for the future is to teach basket making and to keep this art form alive. Perhaps Nora states, “Maybe even traveling to other counties, to see and share different techniques with various materials such as Africa or Australia. I may as well Dream big as Dreams can become Reality.”

Nicole McIsaac

She was born at the Prince County Hospital in 1991 and raised in Richmond, Prince Edward Island. Her parents are Marlyn Beatrice Kennedy of Kensington and David Joesph McIsaac of Windsor, Ontario. Nicole is the oldest of four children. When she was younger she would go over to her grandmother, Ann McRae McIsaac’s house, and make many baskets there with her. She started working at the Island Traditions Store in 2012 alongside Frances Pickle because Ann was in the middle of retiring from 26 years of basket weaving. She is the youngest generation basket weaver to start at the shop and to keep the tradition alive for another 40 years; until the next generation begins.