His path as a basket maker has ranged from weaving the sweetgrass baskets of South Carolina to New England black ash pack baskets and river cane from the Southern Highlands. Billy Ray has worked almost exclusively in recent years weaving traditional white oak styles, but since moving to Maine four years ago, he’s experimenting with new styles and materials. Suits an old dog well to learn new tricks.
He is the former executive editor of WoodenBoat and Cooking Light magazines, and as a woodworker, he has built and restored custom furniture and wooden boats, including a 32-foot sailboat in which he cruised to and from Bermuda and the Caribbean. He now lives in Camden, Maine — but will always be a hillbilly at heart.
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The following article appeared in Garden & Gun magazine. Click on the images for a high resolution pdf view.