The Things I Used to Do – Baskets

Dancers Basket


I used to make baskets and occasionally try placing patterns in them, patterns of my own choosing. This one was inspired by the beautiful Native American Baskets with coiled, intricate designs. My original thought was to have three evenly spaced dancers, but rushing right along (the coiling technique is like that….just one more round and I’ll stop and look) I pulled out the maroon colored raffia too early and was hence committed to do something else. So there ended up being one dancer and two shield like shapes.  I was better at working out the turquoise bits near the rim. This is one of my favorite coiled pieces made in the early 80s.

Dancers Basket profile


I started making baskets back in the mid 70s taking classes with Grace Kabel in Michigan. Several of her students went on to teach workshops. I must admit that I never really liked the prescribed products that were such a popular way of learning basketry techniques. I much preferred just handling the materials and seeing if they would fit some idea I had for a shape or purpose. Below is my first rib constructed basket made from some vine I collected in the yard. I was so excited to have done it back in 1978 that I couldn’t wait to show Grace. She was her usual kind and generous self and said something like, “That’s nice, Sandy.” But I could tell she was not quite so sure about its functionality, which back then was the sole purpose of baskets. At the time my fellow students were more concerned with making the seven muffin, not eight, not six, but seven muffin basket where one would fit perfectly amid a surrounding of six equally spaced muffins.

The first rib construction basket forty years old next year


I liked working with these naturally found materials and working them in with the processed rattan reed we were being taught with. Somehow it made the work different and “different” was important to me. In the 80s I was teaching the more adventuresome how to make hats. Here are the two I still have, covered with dust on the uppermost shelves in the living room.

living room shelves angle

Two Hats


There are more things I used to do on these shelves and some are containers and or baskets and or sculptures, all made with found materials and parts that are more finished in appearance. I will save them til next time. It is fun to look at my own history in art and crafts this way and strange how I seem reluctant to let some of them go.