Basketry Product Review
Andre - Creator Of Little Scout and Little Feather Basketweaving Kits
I recently asked Ruth to tell me more
about her background and just how she developed her series of pre-cut basketry kits for
beginners and children. This is what she had to say.
Can you tell us a
little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised on a small ranch in Southern California. I grew up very much in
touch with nature and its beauty. I studied art and design at California State Long Beach
as well as printmaking at Otis/Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles. My interest in art
lead me to a career representing artists and photographers located in Los Angeles, San
Francisco and New York. In 1986 I moved to the San Diego, CA. I met and married my
Our agriculture business, growing and
selling fresh cut flowers gave me the opportunity to live in Baja California, Mexico.
While there I learned from the Oaxian Indians the art of making usefulness and beauty from
materials with little or no value. Ready for a new adventure in 1992 we moved to a small
farm in the Mid-West 2½ hours south of St. Louis, MO.
How did you get
involved in gourd baskets?
The move from California
to Missouri changed my life. I had been used to easy access to art workshops and the
friendship of other artists. I found myself very isolated from the world of art. By
accident I took up the craft of basket making when one year we grew 6 acres of gourds. The
gourds offered me the inspiration to combine them with the ancient art, coiled pine needle
basketry. I call my baskets "Gourd-Weavings". The shapes, colors and textures
are integrated and instinctive as each weaving becomes a work of art.
Do you exhibit
your own Gourd-Weavings?
My work is displayed
online in the
site. A full portfolio and a selection of my award winning coiled gourd and pine needle
basketry is included there along with a resume which includes the places where my work is
What made you
decide to make children's basket weaving kits?
During an exhibit for the
gourd-weavings a young boy came up to me saying he wanted to try making a gourd-weaving
basket and could I show him how? He was a very young fellow so I knew I would need to come
up with a very simple kit for him to try. I went to work on developing my first children's
kit the "Little Feather" gourd-weaving kit. The "Little Feather" kit
is made by coiling rolled paper around a gourd base instead of pine needles. It is child
friendly and easy to handle.
How did that
evolve into the wire core paper kits like the Little Scout?
With my first wholesale
order for the rolled paper I was sent a sample book of paper products and when I opened
the book I thought these luscious paper colors would make wonderful woven baskets. I went
to work on designing a series of baskets all intended for the very beginner basket maker.
Not being totally satisfied with the paper colors available I ordered my own color
combinations to make this first series, the "Pottery" basket series, with colors
that are found in the southwest.
What has inspired
you to create these kits as a way to teach children?
As a child I was very
fortunate to have adults teach me many crafts that have served me well my entire life.
After learning the art of coiling I wanted to share different basket making techniques
with children. I wanted children to benefit, understand and appreciate the ancient craft
of basketry. I have been diagnosed with a severe hearing impairment and voices, especially
little voices of children, are very difficult for me to understand. Teaching to a group of
children was not an option. That encouraged me to write basket patterns and photograph
step-by-step instructions in hopes of making basket making easy and fun.
How do you plan to
make these kits available to the little people who will become tomorrow's generation of
I now have a
retail web site just for the kits. You can order right from this secure online
store. It is a fun site with a gallery to
show off baskets made by children that order the kits. It also includes photos of some
of the basket kits in process. http://wildponybaskets.com
I will target craft
catalogs, retail basketry shops, museum gift shops and children's gift shops
with the kits as well.
How can people
Wild Pony Baskets
PO Box 100
Blodgett, MO 63824
To The Start Of The Product Review
More Basketry For Beginners
More Basketry Kits
Photos used with the
permission of Ruth Andre.
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