865-448-3070 info@gracehillart.com
Gracehill Fine Art & Basketry Where Sand Meets Water

Gracehill Fine Art & Basketry

A pine needle basket has to be woven onto something. Three-quarters of my baskets have a gourd base, but I can also use a clay or porcelain base that I make at a local pottery shop, or it can be other found treasures like wood covered in leather or objects covered in resin, whatever. The key is, you need to be able to drill holes in it to secure the first coil onto. Once you decide the base, then:

Decide the overall color. Color will affect the porcelain base or gourd and the color of the pine needles. “Natural” pine needles are usually a dark brown, once they come out of a glycerin bath, but with many of my baskets I dye the needles. Fifty years ago women didn’t know the sex of their child until it was born, but at least that was a fifty-fifty chance. Dyeing pine needles, you NEVER know what you will end up with. Some are ho-hum and others are a happy little miracle like the time I was going for apricot and ended up with a lovely cranberry. There are so many factors involved—what variety pine needle, what region of the country they came from, and how they were picked and dried, type of dye, etc., etc.

So I need to know what color you are thinking for the gourd or porcelain or leather. Then I pick the needles that look the best.

Next is what color of waxed linen, jewelry twine, or artificial sinew you want to use. If you are going to wrap a coil, waxed linen or jewelry twine usually work a little better, but I have also done this with artificial sinew. An example of wrapping a coil is the basket on the top of my home page. I’ve used two different colors of waxed linen, and where it shows up a solid color, that is wrapping a coil, as opposed to just stitching a coil. An inch of wrapped coil takes about a yard of linen and I can wrap about 7 inches in an hour. The more wrapped coil you see, the more expensive the basket is.

Lastly, you have embellishments. I use driftwood occasionally, but if you absolutely need to have that, other than color, I choose most everything else because it can be hard to have a piece of wood work with the base. It will dictate size, hence cost, every time.

Beads are always fun. I use a lot of gemstones, but also glass and metal beads and TDZI Tibetan style beads.

If I am designing a piece specifically for you, you give me a price range and take a few pictures of the room it will be going in. No, art doesn’t have to match your furniture, but size and color are important! I have never made a basket I didn’t like and know I could sell to someone else, so if you are not thrilled with the finished basket there is no obligation to purchase….