Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Work in Progress

Denim cathedral window quilt/throw
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I’ve been super busy lately working on the faux cathedral window throw out of upcycled jeans and dress shirts.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Throw Back Thursday

Filling-in technique for Appalachian ribbed baskets. 
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Throw back to 2000 when I photographed and wrote instructions for "filling-in" for ribbed baskets. I've got to look through old Zip discs to see if I can find the original images. All I can find are the low-res .JPGs I posted to my online instructions at www.JASkets.com.

I was able to locate the old photos! Now to recreate the set of instructions in a version that is print quality.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Nest of Three

Martha Wetherbee Shaker Baskets
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I purchased this nesting set of three Martha Wetherbee black ash Shaker baskets a year or so ago. They are signed and date 1985. This is about the time that I became aware of Martha and Nathan's work. It was a few more years before I was finally able to take a class with them. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cutting Boards

Cutting Boards
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Finished the last of the cutting boards I made during my visits to Perennial on Community Workshop nights. Back last fall I took the cutting board class and now have made a bunch of gifts on my own. These are made from scrap wood, either salvage from the cabinet maker in my home town or scraps too short for my dad to use in his furniture. They are a mix of cherry, oak, walnut, mahogany, maple and alder. They will go down in my stash of handmade items for when I need a gift for someone.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My basket tree is getting full

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If you have ever taken one of the classes that I host at my house you have seen my loaded basket tree I keep up all year round in my basket/craft room. I have already added a tier to the tree, so it is as tall as it can be and I double up on branches if there is room. I am planning on making a covered display case for my mini minis, so I might move some of the smaller baskets to that so might be able to free up some space.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Baskets in the morning sun

Quartet of black ash Shaker-style baskets
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The weather finally broke here the this weekend and I was excited to be able to have the front door open to let some natural light in (my house has awnings so is relatively dark most of the time). I made this quartet of black ash Shaker-style baskets on my last trip to the John C. Campbell Folk School. The large 19" oval Nantucket basket in the back I made in the early 2000s during one of my trips to New Hampshire.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


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How interesting, both of the Hello Fresh peppers in tonight's Sizzling Southwestern Chicken had babies!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Miniature Baskets

Miniature black ash shaker basket
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I recently acquired a large collection of miniature baskets from well-known contemporary basket makers. Here are a pair of black ash Shaker-style baskets by June Patterson, one of Martha Wetherbee's first apprentices. The baskets are mini versions of the Mount Lebanon puzzle-cathead and carrier.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Baskets, baskets, baskets...

Antique baskets
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My parent's are in the process of finishing up a major remodel in their house, so basically everything was displaced at some point. Furniture went back into their spots, glassware and china went back into their cabinets, but baskets, which basically festooned the house lost some of their homes. So, I got to be the primary decision maker on what should stay and what should go back where. I meant to count how many baskets we ended up culling, but it was a pretty hefty pile. If you are interested in purchasing any nice antique white oak and black ash baskets be sure to visit my Dad's antique shop, Coal St. Antiques in Mexico, MO.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mold Weaving Woes

Nantucket and Shaker basket weaving stand
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I don't know how people weave on a mold in their lap. I always use an adjustable weaving stand when making a Nantucket basket or any other mold woven basket. Originally I just used a table top version that would clamp to the end of a table. At a basket weaving workshop in North Carolina I was introduced to a floor stand version and immediately fell in love. I used that stand for years and referred many people to the man that made them. One day though the gentleman fell off the face of the earth never to be heard from again. For years after that people always asked me about my stand and where they could get one. Finally I decided I need to make my own version to sell and a small cottage industry was born. I have made, sold and shipped hundreds of these crazy things over the intervening years. I never go to a workshop without mine, it is indispensable. Because it adjusts to any height I can even stand while I weave if I need to give my back a stretch.

Friday, June 9, 2017

More stamping around

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Playing with some ink and another one of my basket stamps. I was trying to see what I could do with just a single layer of overlapping images. I used Tim Holtz's new Distress Oxide ink for the basket image. I love the detail you can get with it. If you are a stamper and haven't tried the oxide inks you really need to give them a shot. I still love the original Ranger Distress Ink line, but for highly detailed images it is a bit too "soft". I used it for the overall background stamp on this card and the resulting image is wonderfully vintage looking, but for the basket I wanted it to be nice and sharp.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Designing Cards

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Playing with some ink and one of my basket stamps. Distress Blueprint Sketch really does look like an old school architectural print. Love how the water spots turned out.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Don't mind the mess...

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...I'm actually working in my craft room! I always have the best intentions. As I am leaving work and walking to my car, all I can think about is what project I want to work on. Then I get home and the couch looks so comfy, and that is all she wrote...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Flea Market Find

Appalachian white oak ribbed buttocks basket
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Picked up this sweet antique white oak ribbed basket the other day at the Gypsy Caravan. I shared this pic with some friends and one of them asked me if I knew who the maker was. Unfortunately, except in rare cases, is it possible to identify the maker of a basket. You can often tell the region of the country that a basket was made, either by the materials or style of construction. Since this basket is white oak and a rib construction I would say it came from the Appalachia region of the US. Of course that covers a pretty big area of the US. The thing is, most basket makers made their baskets exactly the way they had been taught without really putting their own spin on them. So, this resulted in all the baskets from a local area being pretty similar. The thing you really have to remember is that these were utilitarian objects like a screwdriver or a ladder. For the same reason they also didn't sign their baskets. When you do find a name written on a baskets or screwdriver or ladder, it was the owner's name, not the maker. Just like you write your name on a Tupperware bowl when you go to a picnic, so would they write their name on a basket. Today we think of baskets as art objects, but not back then when this basket was made, it was just a tool like any other.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Peas in a Pod

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My first pea pod! Funny how the little things can make you excited.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Card Games

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Playing around with my stamps and some ink.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Little Helper

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Grayson wants to help me make cards. We have a different definition of helping I think. But just look at that face, how could I scold him.

The bad thing was that I was inspired to craft, which hasn't seemed to happen much lately. I finally did get back to work when he became bored with me. I was working on a set of cards, but only got partially done with them before it was time to wind down for bed. Hopefully inspiration will strike again and I will get these finished up soon.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

2016 Smash Book finally completed

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So I don't know if I can really count this as "getting caught up". I am just now finishing up my 2016 Smash Book. I started 5 years ago doing one of these and have continued to fill a book a year. I guess now I better get busy on 2017...

Friday, April 14, 2017

Do the Dew

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Actually this isn't dew. I was just watering my new plantings last night and thought the water droplets were so pretty in the late day sun. This year I am pledging to water my plants. I just spent almost $200 on 5 plants and one pot. I do NOT want to let them die because I was lazy.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Throw Back Thursday

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Anyone remember having one of these? I still have the body from the inch worm, but at some point unfortunately the head went missing. My love of labeling anything and everything started at an early age.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Standing the Test of Time Educational Displays

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Part of the educational displays at the Standing the Test of Time. If you haven't seen the exhibit yet you have until this Saturday, April 8, 2017, at 4pm. If it is at all possible I would play your weekend around this. The yard work can always wait.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Another beautiful white oak basket by Leona Waddell

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Another beautiful white oak basket by Leona Waddell at the Standing the Test of Time Exhibit. I am not even sure what I would call this shape. I guess I would classify it as a modified potato basket. I am sure she didn't make it with any intended use, it is just a "wonder what it would look like it I did this," type of thing.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Shaker Basket at the Standing the Test of Time Exhibit

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This is an interesting basket. When you think of Shakers, most people think of New England and black ash baskets, but the Shakers actually had communities across the US. This South Union, KY basket is classic Shaker in form. There are a few things that are atypical, but overall it screams "Shaker," from the proportions of the weavers to uprights, to sharply bent corners on the half round rims, to the profile of the handle it is Shaker. The thing that stands out sharply to its New England cousins is that instead of exclusively being woven of black ash, this is woven of white oak. This shouldn't be surprising, since white oak is THE basket tree of the Kentucky/Tennessee region whereas black ash is not to be found.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mini White Oak Basket

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Another beautiful white oak basket by Leona Waddell at the Standing the Test of Time Exhibit. This one was probably 3-4" in diameter, if my memory serves.

Friday, March 31, 2017

More from the Standing the Test of Time Exhibit

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Standing the Test of Time Exhibit also include a selection of contemporary white oak baskets. This incredible white oak basket is by Scott Gilbert of Scottsville, Kentucky. Scott is not only an expert basket maker, he and his wife Beth Hester also own a successful basket making supply business, The Basket Maker's Catalog. They also offer classes and host workshops with other nationally renown instructors, like Alice Ogden.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Standing the Test of Time Exhibit

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A beautiful white oak basket by Leona Waddell at the Standing the Test of Time exhibit. I was able to see this incredible display of baskets on my way to John C. Campbell Folk School this February.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hoarder vs. Mad Genius

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Some call me a hoarder or a pack rat, but I call it genius. I used the scraps of leather I couldn't bring myself to throw away to make washers for a waxed canvas tote.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Waxed Canvas Tote

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Yet another great class at Perennial making a waxed canvas tote. Super fun and surprisingly easy to make. I have had the stripped fabric for over 10 years, it was the cutoffs from the Ikea curtains I have in my basement. I knew that one day I would find a use for them. The strap is from an old belt and I ended up attaching it with rivets I had in my stash and leather washers I cut out of scrap leather.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Shaker Baskets

Shaker black ash cathead baskets
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A pair of captured lid cat head black ash baskets. I think I wove these about 15 years apart. Both feature the quadrafoil pattern in the lid. The larger basket I made during an apprenticeship with Martha Wetherbee ages ago up in New Hampshire. The smaller one I made during one of JoAnn Kelly Catsos' workshops at my house.
The larger is approximately 9.5" in diameter and the smaller version approximately 6" in diameter.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What I am working on

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I've got a batch of basket weaving stands in the works. I always tell myself that I won't let myself run out of them, but...

I just need to sand the sharp edges a bit, oil them and then mount them to their folding metal bases. Two of these are to be shipped out to weavers who have been patiently waiting on their orders. Next stop, UPS.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mini Shaker Apple Baskets

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These are the mini Shaker apple baskets I made when I was taking my workshop with JoAnn Kelly Catsos at the John C. Campbell Folk School. They are 6", 5" and 4" in diameter. I designed and made the molds, handles and rims for these, and JoAnn and her husband Steve made the black ash splint to my specifications. You can't see in this photo, but each features runners that re-enforce the bottoms of the baskets.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Throw Back Thursday

Black ash lidded Shaker basket
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This is a little 4" button basket I made when I was taking my workshop with JoAnn Kelly Catsos at the John C. Campbell Folk School. The base is a traditional cathead shape, but the lid features a quadrafoil pattern. The lid also fits on super tight, JoAnn calls this a "Tupperware fit." While I don't think it would keep leftovers very fresh, the lid does just about snap on.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Making Progress

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My week at the John C. Campbell Folk School is going by too quickly. I am making progress, but have yet to complete a whole basket. That's always the downside to working on a bunch of projects simultaneously.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day One!

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Yesterday was the start of my week of basket weaving at the John C. Campbell Folk School. So many baskets in my future.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Standing the Test of Time

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White oak basket exhibit at the WKU Kentucky Museum, featuring dozens and dozens of contemporary and historic white oak baskets.

Friday, February 3, 2017

More prep for John C. Campbell Folk School

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Cutting mini maple runners this morning for my mini Shaker apple baskets. I always cut at least one extra set to have as back-up. I know this may sound pessimistic or anal retentive, but I am going to be hundreds of miles from home and it's not like I can just whip up some 3/32" thick maple on demand. To me this is like taking an umbrella with you in the morning and it wards off the rain they were predicting.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bending handles and rims for my John C. Campbell Folk School Class

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My class with JoAnn Kelly Catsos at the John C. Campbell Folk School starts soon. I have put off bending my handles and rims until nearly the last minute. This part always makes me nervous, bu I only had one break on a backup handle, so am very happy. I will let them dry for a few days before I take them off the forms.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Baskets on a Saturday morning

Display of Shaker and white oak baskets
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Just a few of the many baskets covering every inch of my house. These are some that grace the top a a lovely cherry hunt board I picked up in New Hampshire at one of the prison shops. The one on the far left is a black ash JoAnn Kelly Catsos, the next is a white oak Cynthia Taylor and the last grouping is mine. Mine include a 4" snowflake bowl woven of natural and dyed black ash, a nesting set of Shaker cathead baskets and in the back (you can barely see it in the shadow box frame) is the black ash reproduction quadrafoil fan I made last year at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trying new things

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A delicious dinner last night of oven-roasted cauliflower with Tunisian-spiced yogurt over cumin-scented rice. I love how Hello Fresh is pushing me to try new things. I would have never even considered ordering this in a restaurant, let alone fix it at home. Cauliflower, raisins, yogurt and cumin over rice? No way! But, the flavors were incredible. I'm also trying to have one meatless dinner a week and this was perfect for that.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Throwback Thursday

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Throwback Thursday to nine years ago at the John C. Campbell Folk School. It's about time to head there again and I can't wait for my class with JoAnn Kelly Catsos. This year the plan is to make three mini Shaker apple baskets. People are going to be confused when they see the size of these baskets, because most people think that something has to be itsy bitsy to be called mini, but because a regular size historical Shaker apple basket is about 16" in diameter, my 6", 5" and 4" will be pretty small in comparison.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting Ready for Class

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Handle jigs made for my mini Shaker apple baskets I plan on making with JoAnn Kelly Catsos next month at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Now to steam bend both the handles and rims. Since I am not using green wood this is always stressful.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Flashback to 2011

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A flash back to 2011 when I had my mini gallery show of my baskets. The Chamber of Commerce in my hometown of Mexico, Missouri is located in a beautiful old bank. The have kept many of the original marble counters and fixtures and even turned the old vault into a mini gallery art space. I was honored to be asked to show my baskets there. While a bank vault may sound like an odd backdrop, it really was a great space to display artwork.

Dang, I was thin back then. 😳

Friday, January 6, 2017

Getting Ready for John C. Campbell 2017

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Finishing up my nesting set of mini/small Shaker apple basket molds for my workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School with JoAnn Kelly Catsos. Now to let JoAnn know what splint sizes I need and to figure out handles, rims and runners.

I am also going to review the shaping on these. I don't know if it is just the angle of the photo, but that middle mold looks lopsided. The sides are hand shaped, so that is very possible.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cat in the Hat ... I Mean Basket

Martha Wetherbee Shaker Wood Chip Basket

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After I don't know how many years, Grayson has decided my Martha Wetherbee leather-lined Shaker wood chip basket is the best place to sleep. Unlike most cats, he has always preferred hard, cool surfaces to lay on instead of the usually fluffy, fuzzy spots normally favored by felines.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My first project for 2017

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I'm making three small/mini Shaker apple basket molds. If these turn out this will be my project at John C. Campbell Folk School next month with JoAnn Kelly Catsos.