California State Fair

California State Fair


I’m pleased to share that I have two sculptural baskets on exhibit at the California State Fair in Sacramento beginning today, through July 30th.  They are in the California Crafts Exhibit in Building 8 at Expo Center. This is the second year that basket making has been a category in the Adult Crafts Competition.

I made “Nest”, shown above, during the Bay Area Basket Makers annual retreat in the Sierras in August 2015. I had made a beginning for some sort of container at an earlier retreat by sewing with waxed linen a few date fruit stalks on to a thick piece of something from a palm tree. I didn’t have any definite plan in mind at that time, and after the retreat the start of the basket sat on a shelf for two years.

My goal in 2015 was to complete started projects, that, for whatever reason, I hadn’t finished. The first thing to decide was what technique I wanted to use on this basket. Twining is my preference most of the time in the last few years. I had some odd bundles of sea grass and cordage I wanted to use, which would need a strong spoke material to twine around.

What can I use as spokes that will work with the sea grass, and how can I attach them to the palm base? This necessitated a search to see what I had on hand. I have three or four plastic crates of odd materials that might be interesting to work with. Three crates down in the stack I found a bag of braided nylon, probably from an estate sale years ago, which was strong and flexible.

I cut lengths of the braid twice as long as the height I wanted to make the sides. I worked each piece under the row of date stalks and pulled it up even to the other end making two spokes next to each other. I began by twining once around the spokes with a scrap piece of string to hold them in place until the sea grass has been twined for several rows. Getting this started is like wrestling an octopus—spokes going every which way.

As I worked up the sides, they began to undulate like waves. I was so excited to watch this basket grow—it certainly wasn’t planned. This is the delight of combining unusual materials together and allowing them to interact with each other.

The second basket on display at the Fair was discussed on the May 16 post at


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