In 2011 my husband suffered a brain injury that requires that he have 24/7 care - and the caregiver is me. I believe in caring for myself so that I can be as good a caregiver for him as possible. Artistic endeavors are a huge part of that. At the end of 2017, in need of a bread basket, I decided to make one. The rest is history. As of the time of this writing, I have made 198 baskets and the creative drive to make more is stronger than ever.
I harvest the pine needles from North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida (where we make our winter camp). They are taken from the ground or down branches or trees - never the live needles directly from the living tree! The harvest is sorted and bundled. Some of it is dyed by hand (by me and a few supportive friends).
Bases of the baskets can be many things. Some are paintings and drawings (by myself and several collaborating artists), some are a poured epoxy making an acrylic base that is filled with beads, jewelry pieces, lichens and many other items, birch bark, and pottery (yes I make the pottery bases as well).
Artificial sinew and waxed cording in many colors are used to stitch the bundled coils into a basket. I decorate with beads, peyote stitched bead tubes (of seed beads, and also made by me) and my newest decoration which is a chain "knit" of wire.
Every basket gets an inspiration tag with a word like "blessed", "fearless", "miracle" or anything that feels right (as I hand stamp some of the metal tags). It's an intuitive process and comes from the basket itself as well as its ultimate adopter.
Each basket gets adopted and the fee helps me to care for us with more than just the necessities - I can treat him to some of the fun things we used to do before he became challenged. It's a winning situation - I love every aspect of the making from harvest to applying the polyurethane that protects the basket so it will last for generations. That love and enjoyment helps me be a better caregiver and being able to provide stimulating and fun experiences for my husband completes the cycle. Every basket is made with heart and imbued with its inspiration word.
There are no 2 baskets alike. Each one is unique, one of a kind, just like you and me!
From my hands and heart to you!