COVID-19 Update for my shop:
Although my baskets are all made by hand, I do all my packing now wearing gloves and a mask. I am not posting, selling, or shipping any baskets until after they have been set aside in a glass cabinet for at least a week, at which point I only handle them with gloves.
According to Web MD, the Corona virus can survive for up to 24 hours on a cardboard box. When you order from me, the time the package spends in transit, usually 3 days, is adequate time for elimination of virus that might be generated on my end. If you remain concerned due to interim shipping contamination, you may want to set the box aside (with gloves) for a day or two. I know it's hard to wait to see your new basket, but safety first!
I am a retired registered nurse (bread and butter and character forming) but I’ve always been an artist in the background. I painted and printed for years until I found fiber and then finally baskets. My sister sat down one day and showed me what she learned about how to make a basket and I haven’t stopped since. I love working with natural fibers, and especially if they are sustainable and functional. Containers have also always interested me. Making these lovely, solid, natural, and useful baskets is so satisfying!
I harvest pine needles that have fallen locally and purchase some from the Deep South where the needles grow thick and long. After washing them to remove debris, I cook them in a water and glycerin solution, sometimes adding dye, for 3-4 hours. The glycerin is Kosher, food grade, and provides long lasting flexibility and gloss to the normally brittle needles. They are then rinsed, set out in a shady area to dry, and then bundled for later use.
Though I often start my baskets with water softened pine needles at the center, I more often lately use a variety of either found or handmade items as basket centers or bases for variety. I have used antique medallions, sliced black walnuts, and ceramics among others. Recently I began making ceramic centers myself, after initially purchasing them from artists on Etsy. I love the process of working with the clay and it's always fun to see how they turn out after firing. It is labor intensive and time consuming, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Each basket takes considerable time. A larger serving basket can take upwards of 35-40 or more hours. Smaller baskets can take as few as 8 hours, if you disregard preparation.
No two baskets are alike. I don't do custom orders. I prefer to let the materials guide me, even if I have started out with a general idea of what I want to make. I was originally inspired by the local Pomo and Miwok in the Bay Area , California, noted for their exquisite designs and bead work. But my work continues to evolve the more baskets I make. Now that I'm in North Carolina I am surrounded by Long Leaf pine needles! I'm definitely in my happy place.
Handmade pine needle baskets are both gorgeous and functional, something I seek more as we start to move away from a disposable culture. They are sturdy, made of sustainable materials, and will eventually "return to the earth". I hope you gain as much pleasure from them as I do.