Write Around PAM: Gail Tremblay

Gail Tremblay (American, Onondaga, and Mi’kmaq), In Great Expectations, There is no Red Leader, 2011, 35mm film, leader, and metallic braid, Museum Purchase: Native American Acquisitions Fund, © artist or other rights holder, 2013.74.1, Photo Credit: Rebekah Johnson.

In this piece by Onondaga and Mi’kmaq artist Gail Tremblay, 35 mm film finds new life, transformed into a woven basket. Tremblay adapts Indigenous weaving practices, traditionally used to make ash splint and sweetgrass baskets, to this new medium. She “enjoys the notion of recycling film and gaining control over a medium that had historically been used by both Hollywood and documentary filmmakers to stereotype American Indians.” 

Tremblay’s work presents an opportunity to explore objects in our own spaces that we may no longer have use for, but that could be reimagined into something new, something evocative, something that tells another story. Let’s spend some time today visioning this object’s new life through our writing.

First, look through your space for an item that is no longer really needed. Maybe it’s in the back of a cupboard, or on the top of a shelf. Maybe it’s under the sink or hidden in the back of a shed, or even hidden in the back of the fridge. If you can’t find something around you, imagine an item that could use a fresh start.

Now, with the item in front of you, think of a new way it could be in the world and try writing about it. See what comes to the page. There are no right or wrong answers here—let your imagination drive! 

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 7 minutes and just keep your pen or pencil moving.

A fresh start… / I’ve never been…

See Gail Tremblay’s work in the 2nd floor Native American galleries at the Museum and learn more about her at

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 year. Please share your work with us!  @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM @NanMacDonald @nanmacbasketry @froelick_gallery

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