Theresa Secord (b.1958) is a traditional Penobscot basket maker and the founding director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA). During her 21 years of leadership, MIBA was credited with helping to save the endangered art of ash and sweet grass basketry by: lowering the average age of basket makers from 63 to 40; and increasing numbers of weavers from 55 to more than 150; in the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes. Among several honors for this work and for her artistic excellence, she received a lifetime acheivement award, the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2016. In 2009, she was honored with the First Peoples Fund's Community Spirit Award and in 2003, the Prize for Creativity in Rural Life presented by the Women’s World Summit Foundation, at the UN in Geneva Switzerland; for helping basket makers rise out of poverty.
Theresa learned to weave in a traditional setting on Indian Island Maine in 1988 from an elder in the community, Madeline Tomer Shay. She weaves traditional Wabanaki baskets using her great-grandmother's wooden forms and tools that have been handed down to her, from the late 1800's. She has taught many to weave ash and sweet grass baskets and is recently teaching her own son Caleb as an apprentice, to ensure continuation within her family.
Theresa’s work resides in museums and private collections across the nation and she’s won prizes for her art in national, juried art shows.
Here's a recent interview with the artist: (please copy and paste this link into your browser to watch):