When I was a child, a relative noticed my constant work on embroidery and commented to my mom that I wasn’t happy except when I was working with my hands. She was right. But time marches on, and I ultimately made a living by being a psychological examiner and school administrator. When I could steal a moment, I helped make altar linens for St. Mary Catholic Church and rosaries for missionaries overseas through Our Lady’s Rosary Makers.
Right after Christmas last year, six months after retiring, I ran into Rosie Huddleston, who helped me with the IT side of Special Education administration for years, at Walmart. But that day, she mentioned that she would be running a basket making workshop at the Arts Center downtown; and I just had to go. She also mentioned that Dr. Jim Ford, my old boss at Dawson Co-op, took her class last year and has never looked back. He began exhibiting on the Tour last year and is back this year.
The same thing happened to me. I was so hooked on basket weaving that I read everything I could find, and of course, I made baskets. The arts always lead through the paths of history and human culture. I have made friends with the celibate Shakers of New England, the Eastern Band and Oklahoma Cherokees, and the Northeastern Indian tribes who taught the art and technology of wood splint basketry to the English settlers. Most European basketry is willow work, and few willows exist here. With Rosie’s help, I have planted some materials that will both broaden our knowledge of basket work and lower our out-of-pocket expenses.
I find Cherokee style double-wall basketry to be economical of materials, interesting and so much fun to feel take shape in my hands. I am showing several pieces in this Tour. I am more attracted to the utility of basket making than to the fine-art side, and I try to adapt several old styles to modern functions. It’s a small collection, but I hope you enjoy it.