Sunday, June 21, 2009

White Oak Melon Baskets

Dee and Dennis Gregory from Tennessee are white oak basketmakers and prolific teachers. Not only do they make beautiful baskets, but they also make wonder weaving kits. I purchased these awhile back and finally found time to make them. Now I have to say at best all I can claim is to have woven these baskets as all the ribs were already in place so all I had to do was finish weaving over/under to fill in the space. That is not to say it wasn't fun working on these as I so rarely get to use white oak. With white oak basketry having such a long tradition here in Missouri I feel badly that I haven't explored it more. As with so many things, "maybe someday, when I have some free time."

Both of the baskets I would call "melon" shaped in stead of buttocks or gizzard as many white oak ribbed baskets are since they don't have the bulbous shaped sides. The darker stripes in the baskets are from the naturally darker heartwood of the tree with the lighter weavers from the sapwood. Over time as the baskets darken the difference in color will become less and less noticeable, but it will be years before they get that kind of patina. The smaller of the two baskets measures about 4" in diameter and now hangs on the basket tree in my weaving room. The other oval shaped baskets measures about 7"x5" and hands from a peg board over my picture window.