Black Ash Baskets


Many moons ago I was considered a basket maker. Here are a few small ones made from black ash splint. The tall one in the back is a Nantucket basket woven with fine cane. All of these were woven over wooden molds to keep their shape. First you need to find a black ash tree that grows in a swampy area, such as east Texas or western Louisiana. You want a nice straight log with as few branches as possible. Once you have your log, strip the bark off with a spoke-shave. Then the log is pounded (and pounded) to separate the growth rings. These pieces are run through a bank of knives to create the even weavers. I took a few workshops with the famous Martha Weatherbee back when she was still working with Nathan Taylor. She taught how to weave in the traditional Shaker way. She also taught how to shape the handles.


This is a classic “kitten head” basket, named for the feet shaped like “kitten ears”.


This is a miniature laundry basket with hand carved handles. There are no nails, no glue, nothing to hold these together except the splints, weavers, rims, and rim lashings. And this is true no matter the size.


A miniature peach basket that stands 3″ from the bottom to the top of the hand-shaped handle. The weavers are 1/6″ inch wide. I have larger baskets, more utilitarian baskets, but thought it would be nice to photograph the tiny ones today.


Bottom detail of the miniature peach basket. You can see my initials and the year, 1988. I’ve made many Shaker baskets and Nantucket baskets. Some of my favorites are the ‘nesting sets’. I’ve made orchard baskets, egg baskets, sewing baskets, and more. It has been many years since I’ve done this type of work, but I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands.

So now you know a bit of trivia about me.


  • August 3, 2016 - 7:48 pm

    Karen Burns - Long ago and far away. . . .ReplyCancel

  • August 3, 2016 - 11:14 pm

    Linda Macgregor - They are truly beautiful – love the hand made items! I’ve tried making very small baskets from the runners of wild strawberries. We have many of these here and they’re surprisingly strong.ReplyCancel

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