My very first baskets were made when I was in the Girl Scouts, earning my basket weaving badge. Having grown up in a family where hand skills in many areas were encouraged, basketry was natural for me. Almost 40 years have gone by since I was first introduced to the world of basketry and now, I see the world through the eyes of a basket maker.
For me, repetition was a great teacher – at times, a taskmaster – and I made and sold baskets for many years. My years of production weaving are past, but I still have a basket in my hands most days, either designing, dyeing, making or getting ready to teach a class. Now, I make my living from traveling and teaching basketry. The camaraderie of classes, seeing the moment in a student’s eyes when they have that ‘aha’! moment, broadening my knowledge of basketry the world over – all of this and more meets and sustains my need to create.
I am so blessed to have met so many creative folks in my life, from the famous basket makers in NBO, the artisans on our local studio tour and those who made baskets before me in the Appalachian region. The small farm where my husband and I reside is in a beautiful nook in West Virginia and all I need to do to be inspired is to step out the door. It still baffles me how I can be so blessed! Teaching basketry takes me all over the United States and, occasionally, beyond. From individual guilds to large conferences, I can be found teaching. Twills, flat splint work, round reed, sculptural basketry, etc., all are within my repertoire, but ribbed basketry is my real niche. From traditional rib work to sculptural work, I am in the zone. I would be remiss without mentioning that Flo Hoppe and Judith Olney were mentors to me. Without their guidance, I would lack so much knowledge of structure, tension, material choice and shaping. Basketry is my familiar world and I am most thankful for that!