For the Garden & Gun magazine Jubilee Festival
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Two of my baskets were selected for a great traditional basket exhibit and added to the permanent collection at the Renwick in 2013. Many thanks to Steve Cole!
No Place Like Home, East Tennessee Basketry
Imagine doing away with shopping bags, plastic buckets, and manufactured storage tubs of today and depending instead upon baskets. You would quickly recognize the essential role that these hand-woven containers of wood played in bygone days. Baskets were some of the most functional and creative possessions in everyday life.
During the past year, the East Tennessee Historical Society has worked to document the traditional basket makers of our region. Materials and construction details have been recorded for baskets surveyed. For those baskets where the maker’s identity is known, family stories and photographs have also been collected. Woven of Wood, East Tennessee Baskets, 1880-1940 highlights selected examples from this survey.
“As a tie-in to Woven of Wood, the work of contemporary basket maker Billy Ray Sims is also on display. Now based out of Alabama, the Tennessee native has worked in a wide range of basketry styles.”
Kentuck Gallery Exhibit
The Kentuk Festival of Arts, Tuscaloosa, AL, celebrates the best in American folk art each year in October, and its associated gallery has great exhibits and craft sales throughout the year. I was honored to show my work there through the month of August, and most appreciative of the many supportive visitors and their interest in basketry.
Does Billy Ray Sims still make white oak potato baskets? If so, what are the sizes and prices?
Hi, I make them in various sizes. The two on the site are $500 (10”) and $1500 (30”)
In looking at the November Country Living I noticed a basket very much like my basket I purchased many years ago and was wondering if it was one of yours. Did you ever sale your baskets at East Berlin Days in Pa?
Not likely that I made the basket. I’ve sold mostly in the South. Thanks for your note!
Hi – I have a lovely old shaker-style woven ash, wooden handled, gather basket that I use in the garden, and the bottom is beginning to wear out. I am trying to find someone who could repair it. This basket means a lot to me – I’ve owned it for more than 30 years, and it was a gift from my (beloved, late) husband’s brother. Except for a couple of places it’s in good condition. Can you tell me whether you would be interested in repairing it, or help me find someone who would? If it makes a difference, I’m in Maine, and I believe the basket to have been made in New Hampshire. Any help you can give will be very much appreciated. Thanks – and I LOVE your work!
Please send photos of the basket and I will see what I can do. email@example.com