While on vacation in North Carolina in 1983, I took my first basket class and fell in love with the art form. I came home and joined a local basket guild and then attended 10 annual basket weaving conventions sponsored by the Association of Michigan Basket Weavers. At each convention, along with hundreds of other weavers, I practiced different basket weaving techniques using a variety of materials and styles. I was fortunate to study with well-known weavers from all over the country, and even one from Russia. I gained experience using bark, willow, black ash, rattan, pine needles, paper, ribbon, sea grass, dried vines and leaves, leather, copper and gourds.
I especially enjoy weaving on gourds, because that requires mastering some special power tools and finishing techniques in addition to the weaving. Many hours of prep work are involved before a gourd is ready for the final step of weaving the rim.
I also find myself drawn to the Scotch/Irish Appalachian style of ribbed basketry. Making them seems to come naturally to me - maybe because I am of the same heritage and grew up in the heart of Appalachia.
My pine needle basketry developed when, in 2003, I moved into a home surrounded by pine trees and found myself covered up with potential weaving material.
Color and texture are the driving forces behind each piece. I start with the color and carefully choose embellishments like antlers, rocks, shells, leather, feathers, dried leaves or pods or beads to add texture.
I delight in creating woven art every day - playing with color and texture and experimenting with new techniques. I feel that I am "up-cycling" humble natural materials, like pine needles and gourds, to create colorful art inspired by nature and Native American art.