Natural-native materials keynote the array of baskets I create. The first step is to collect and gather my materials requiring the use of my senses and muscles. The materials I gather: Bark, fiber, leaf stems, vines, roots, shoots, splints, suckers, branches, leaves, trunk, inner bark, vine bark, seed pods, seed heads, husk runners, withes, frond stems, twigs, and cane. The plants I use most often: Yellow poplar, hickory, white oak, hemlock, blackberry, catbrier, cattail, dogwood, ivy, maple, poplar, grapevine, honeysuckle, and wisteria.
There are certain times of the year to harvest each plant. Experimentation shows the way! Each season, spring/summer/fall/winter offer opportunities to harvest materials. Each plant is prepared and processed for its eventual use, dried and stockpiled. When ready to build a basket the materials are soaked for pliability.
Each material demands personal study and use. Skill in the uses of one material cannot be transferred at will to the next. Techniques I use: Splint work, coiling, plaiting, twining, weaving, stitching, ornament, and dyeing. Tools I use for collecting, preparing, and crafting: Saws, drills, froe, pry bar, penknife, draw knife, awl, clamps, clothespins, cutters, dye pots, gluts, maul, needle-nose pliers, screw drivers, soaking tubs, tape measure, and scissors. I do not seek 100% perfection. I greatly value "consistent quality", "durability", and "individual expression" in my designs. My baskets are designed to fulfill a non-traditional function, whether utilitarian or art only.
Using natural, hand gathered materials and the combined elements of Bark Basketry, Traditional Southern Appalachian Splint Work and Willow Work, I hope the “soul” shines through my work and restores a human touch to our material lives.