I learned from a friend in 1986 how to make pine needle baskets, and I have had a passion for this craft ever since. Over the years I have made a variety of basket types by using an assortment of materials and techniques, however pine needle baskets continue to be my favorite.
During my early years of basketry, I used only raffia for stitching and Ponderosa pine needles that I collected myself or gathered from willing friends and family members. Eventually I discovered a wider variety of pine needles from different regions of the country. I am still amazed at how something as simple as a bundle of pine needles can be transformed into something useful and beautiful. My baskets are an eclectic collection based on many years of self-taught experimentation –playing with pine needles!
Today I use natural and dyed pine needles from Ponderosa, Torrey, White, Loblolly, Longleaf and a variety of other pine trees. Each basket takes many hours to complete and is carefully hand-stitched and coiled using waxed linen thread, raffia or artificial sinew in a variety of colors and textures. I incorporate agate, a variety of woods, shells, pottery, ceramic and other artistic pieces in the bases of my baskets. Some are adorned with gemstones, beads and trinkets. I also use sweetgrass, lavender stems and other dried natural materials in my baskets.
A bit of my spirit goes into each of my one-of-a kind basket creations. Most tell a story about something memorable in my life. One of the added joys of a pine needle basket is the wonderful pine scent. I hope my baskets will provide some of the peace and happiness they bring me as I am making them.
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