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The pine needle has been used in basketry for generations. This WPA Photo of young girls weaving pine needle baskets taken by the WPA in Savannah, GA shows a glimpse of what it was like to coil in years past. To this day many basketmakers choose this medium for their work. Coiling is a time consuming process and finished baskets can take many hours. The time spent is well worth it though, because pine needle baskets are fragrant, sturdy and depending on use and care, will last many years.

Pine needle baskets take many forms. You will find traditional forms like these lidded round coiled baskets with pine needle knobs by Lory Brown and this vase with handle of sweetgrass, pineneedles and palmetto coiled by Mary A. Jackson.

Some artists choose a more contemporary expression in their work. Debora Muhl coils sculptural pieces in pine needle or sweetgrass such as Afternoon Tea and Sculptural Basket, an award winning piece which was acquired by Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Both Ruth Andre and W. Jayne Stanley combine pine needle coiling with gourds in their work, which also has a contemporary feel. Elizabeth Whyte Schulze adds painted imagery to her contemporary coiled basket artwork.

Other artists, like Kendra Davis, offer both semi-traditional and sculptural pine needle baskets like They Carry Their Eggs Under Their Legs and Hurricane Andrew. Francina and Neil Prince are studio artists who coil sculptural art vessels and functional cremation urns using dyed needles of the Torrey Pine. Susan Roberts of Wind Dancer Creations, creates sculptural coiled pine needle baskets often incorporating walnut slices, leather or feathers. C. Elizabeth Smathers combines coiled pine needle basketry with bases she has formed from shaped and fired raku clay, sliced wood turned wooden vessels or unusual gourd shapes. She is one of the winners in the 2011 NICHE Award - Professional Basketry Category.

Many individuals share their love of coiling by teaching. Judy Mulford author of Basic Pine Needle Basketry, has been featured on The Carol Duvall Show on HGTV. Sharol Clay of Fiber Enchantment shares her love of coiling in the workshops she teaches at locations like Common Threads in Solana Beach, California. Pamela Zimmerman who has taken it upon herself to form The Pine Needle Group, has gathered information about pine needle basketry and provided a place for members to exhibit their work.

The talent of these basket artists is very evident as you view their work in these online presentations. This kind of skill level takes practice and patience. I hope their work inspires you to take up the needle and learn for yourself.

I have assembled a pine needle basketmakers directory with links to active basketmakers with a presence on the Web. A variety of Pine Needle Basketry books are also available. If you have information to add, please post your comment to the bulletin board or contact me.

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Pine Needle Basketry Index


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