Mary Ann and Bill Smith

Mary Ann and Bill Smith have been making split oak baskets for more than 20 years. They began by apprenticing with 3rd generation basket maker, Jesse Thomason from Blount County, AL. The Smiths worked closely with Mr. Thomason for several years during which time the Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded the couple a grant for their work. They have been featured in “Carry On”, a program celebrating 20 years of the apprenticeship program and “From Tradition”, showcasing the traditional artists of Alabama.


Bark baskets by Mary Ann and Bill Smith

white oak baskets by Mary Ann and Bill Smith


Mary Ann and Bill focus on harvesting the materials for their basket making and work mostly in split oak and poplar and hickory barks to make traditional basket styles. They have recently retired as the resident basket makers at Tannehill Historical State Park in McCalla where they demonstrated for 15 years.


The Smiths teach from their home studio, at the Alabama Folk School and the John C. Campbell Folk School in their native North Carolina. They are also active in an annual gathering of white oak basket makers, members of The North Carolina Basket Makers Association and The Natural Fibers Group.


Bill Smith

Bill Smith

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