Basketry from natural materials has been an interest of mine ever since I saw Paul Geouge’s tulip poplar and hickory bark berry-picking baskets hanging from his porch in the South Toe River Valley in the shadow of the Black Mountains of North Carolina. It was almost thirty years ago that Paul and his son Ben generously taught me how to make them and I’ve been making ever since. In the last few years my son Todd has been making them as well. The trees we use are usually 10-30 year old tulip poplar sprouts that are shading some of our cultivated areas. Usually when we cut a tree I will take the larger pieces of bark from lower down on the trunk for gathering baskets and backpacks and Todd will use the upper pieces for smaller simpler baskets. (The wood is used in our wood stoves.) The lacing is made from the inner bark of hickory or occasionally poplar or mulberry.
Usually we sell the baskets at performances and other programs and sometimes we sell them by mail order. Todd's smaller baskets are priced between $5-$25. My larger gathering baskets are usually priced from $50- $85. Backpacks usually range from $150-$250 depending on the extras, i.e. design features, loops with home-made rope, pencil holders, etc. Inquiries are welcome. Step by step instructions on how to make your own bark basket are available in Woodslore (See the books and recording page on this website)