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Q: How long have you been part of the market?
A: We’ve been part of the downtown Columbus Farmers Market since it started.
Q: What do you sell?
A: We sell decorative and utilitarian baskets. All baskets are hand-woven by us. We also sell footstools and children’s rockers, and we do custom-made baskets. Tell us the size you want, and we will make it for you.
Q: How long have you been
making your baskets?
A: We have been weaving for 25 years. I (Kathy) took a class at Donner Center, then talked Ruthie into going to the next class offered. I decided that I could do the weaving without having to wait for another class, so I ordered materials in bulk, and we started to weave on our own. We now have hundreds of patterns for just about any kind of basket you could ask for.
We still enjoy learning new weaving techniques and travel to weaving seminars to takes classes from nationally known weavers.
Q: Talk about the process of
creating your baskets.
A: We weave our baskets from material that comes from the rattan plant. There are hundreds of species, but just a few are used to produce reeds for baskets. Classified as a palm, the rattan vines through the tropical rain forest. Most of the reed produced commercially comes from the rain forests of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. The rattan core is processed and cut into different lengths and varying widths.
Because we buy our materials in bulk and not in pre-cut kits, the first task is to measure and cut the stakes. These form the base and provide the upright stakes so that we can weave the sides. We then use the longer pieces to weave the sides, putting in colored reed (we dye all our own reed) for a design. Most baskets we do are start-stop weaving, meaning each row is woven then cut before starting another row.
After weaving the required amount of rows for the sides, the stakes are cut and tucked, which will keep your basket together. Then the outside rim and the inside rim are added to the top and lashed together. We spray most of our baskets with a protective oil stain as a finishing touch.
You really don’t need a lot of tools to make a basket — craft scissors to cut the reed, measuring tape, clothes pins or metal clips for securing the rim before lashing, pencil, flat-head screwdriver or basket packer. We have found the more you weave, the more specialized tools you collect.
We buy our wood basket handles from a supplier in Bloomington, and our wood bottoms are made by a local woodworker, Bill Griffith.
Making a basket is not something you can whip out in 30 minutes. The time varies according to the size, shape and type of weaving you are using for each basket. Twilled baskets take more time than over-under weaving. Some of the baskets we have at the market take eight hours to make.
Q: What do you like about being part of the market?
A: It is a local outlet for our product. We don’t have to worry about shipping.
Q: What types of conversations do you have with the shoppers?
A: We always try to have some weaving to do as people, especially children, love to watch what we are doing. Many shoppers ask about the materials we use and if it is the same as Longaberger. They also ask if we re-weave chair seats. It seems that almost everyone has a chair that needs a new seat.
Q: Do you sell at other locations?
A: We sell at 12 Dames Craft Show in November and at Hackman’s Farm Market Fall Festival. We have a basket class at North Vernon Public Library the second Thursday of the month, August through May. We also give lessons to home school groups and do demos and weave in public school art classes. We also have an occasional class at Bartholomew County library.
Q: Is this a hobby or more for you?
A: This is just a hobby for us. Kathy is a retired Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. teacher and is now a substitute teacher for BCSC and Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. Ruthie works at the Cummins Tech Center.
Q: What are your plans when the market ends?
A: We will continue teaching and start to make baskets for next year’s market. Saturday mornings will be for sleeping late.
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