11″ x 14″ x 10″
Carved, whittled, woven, rib work construction; hand-split white oak
This basket is headed to the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of a gift from Martha G. Ware and Steven R. Cole.
I had some exceptional help on this one. Leona Waddell is considered among the finest white oak basket makers in the country. (Read more about Leona by clicking on the Baskets with Heart page, top right column.) At age 83, she may yet to have reached her prime as a basket maker.
Scott Gilbert and Beth Hester, my basketry mentors, introduced me to Leona a few years ago. And I waited a long time and completed more than a few ambitious baskets, before asking if she would work with me on this project.
It’s based on an Appalachian style known as a Gizzard basket that allows you to carry eggs and other fragile goods safely over the back of a horse to market, or riding snugly against your hip when walking. The round-ribbed and lobed shape were unfamiliar to Leona, but she gladly shared her secrets for a tight fine weave, which begins at the wrap where the handle and rim join. Then I was off on a process that involved many hours of scraping, cutting, and weaving splits.