All of our baskets are hand crafted using the finest materials available.
Basket making is one of the oldest skills in the world, it predates pottery making and weaving. Once people became aware they needed a container, they used whatever natural material they could gather. These containers were used to make their lives easier when gathering and storing food and goods. They found a way to twist or weave vines, grasses, rushes, roots, trees and bark into some kind of basket. The only tools early man used were his hands.
History cannot pinpoint the exact time the first baskets were made since the materials were easily destroyed by fire or rotted when left behind on the ground. We see evidence of this today in the study of ancient history and archeology. In fact, the dead sea scrolls were found in baskets.
Basket making has stayed alive through the centuries as cultural styles and traditions traveled from Europe, the British Isles and other countries to the new world. Basket makers had to adapt their craft to use the materials they found in their new land. The American melting pot along with the influence of Native American basketry contributed to the blending of techniques and sharing of materials.
History shows us that basket weaving was a farm, household and family activity for the purpose of constructing containers, cages, fences and more. Baskets can be woven, coiled, plaited, twined or a combination of any of these methods. Materials such as vines, grass, pine needles, antlers, bark and parts of trees can be gathered in the woods, fields and hedgerows or grown especially for weaving purposes. Art paper either painted or plain, waxed linen and fibers are often incorporated into modern designs. Commercial material that can be purchased and ready to use is rattan palm or what we refer to as reed. It is the most commonly used material available.
Rattan palm trees grow in Asia and Africa, the vines are flexible and have circumferences from pencil thin to the thickness of a softball bat and can grow 2 to 3 feet a day, up to 600 feet long. This makes it very desirable as basket weaving material. It is gathered, dryed, handed stripped of bark and leaves and sent to be processed. Inner bark is split and cut into chair caning lengths and the remaining center is cut into reed. Shapes can be round, flat, oval, and flat oval, cut into many sizes - it looks like wood splint.
Baskets are still woven by hand. There has been little success in producing them mechanically. An exception is the factory produced, stapled bushel basket. Some assembly line products have rims stapled or nailed by machine, but the basket itself needs the hands of a weaver.
Basketry today includes utilitarian and sturdy baskets, fanciful styles learned from Native American weaving traditions, Shaker and Nantucket mold woven and highly decorative art forms.