Adirondack Basketry

[The iconic Adirondack pack basket, handmade in Central New York.]

New York has many icons, but one of the most representative is the Adirondack pack basket: it is classic, charming and rugged all at once.

Woven like a basket but structured like a backpack, this light and comfortable container was an essential tool for the fishermen, hunters, gatherers and trappers who took on the Adirondack wilderness. 

With its flat bottom, curved 'belly' and closed-mouth design, the basket is simultaneously freestanding (ideal for resting in a canoe during fishing expeditions), voluminous (to store trappings), and secure. Perhaps not surprisingly, this accessory likely evolved from baskets worn by the Algonquins who were native to the Adirondack region.

Linda Scherz Allen, a Central New Yorker, preserves this uniquely New York craft in her Rome, N.Y. studio, and in the classes she teaches at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne, N.Y. and throughout the Northeastern U.S.

Traditional black ash wood is a limited resource so Linda carefully selects natural reed and seagrass, which she hand dyes. The gorgeous harnesses that adorn each bag -- available in a rich chestnut leather and a vibrant red cotton -- are custom-made in Northern New York just for her products. 

For the modern lifestyle, these packs are perfect for traipsing through Adirondack Park, picnicking in Central Park, foraging at your local farmer's market, and hauling towels and toys to the beach.

Each and every piece we carry is a Linda Scherz Allen for NYSOM Exclusive. A time-tested New York heritage piece to add to your collection and pass down through the ages.

To continue the livelihood of this tradition, Linda shares her craft by teaching at the Adirondack Folk School, an organization dedicated to keeping the crafts and culture of the Adirondacks alive through year-round classes, special programs, free craft demonstrations and presentations, and other events. You can take a class with Linda at the Adirondack Folk School and learn to make your own Adirondack pack basket.

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