Jessee Lawyer descends from a long line of Indigenous artists. He continues his family tradition as one of the last two Native families in the Northeast who continue to make miniature horsetail coiled baskets. Jessee also hand carves traditional soapstone pipes and contemporary soapstone sculptures. He draws great inspiration from his father who taught him how to carve. As he continues to polish his skills he is being mentored by two VAAA artists.
As a child I spent many nights watching my father create art. He worked in many mediums, he was well known for his moccasins and homes that he built. His attention to detail captivated and inspired me. Hand carved feathers and chip carving around doors and windows, decorative stitching graced his moccasins, and subtle lines touched his pipes. He would tell me stories of my grandfather who made miniature horsehair baskets, woodcarvings and would cast miniature animals out of bronze. I absorbed as much knowledge and wisdom as I could from my father and cannot thank him enough for preparing me with the skills and love needed to continue our Abenaki traditions, before he passed on to the spirit world.
I have only recently started carrying on my family traditions as well as creating my own style. I try to experiment with many mediums but am focusing on horsehair baskets and soapstone pipes and sculptures for the moment, with moccasins in the near future. I feel a deep connection to both the plant and animal worlds, and try to incorporate them as much as possible in my art, honoring all they provide for us.
With the knowledge that has been passed to me from previous generations, I have been blessed with the gift of a child on the way. Now there is another generation to carry on our cultural traditions, and another art form for me all-together.