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  Baskets by the Bushel

left to right:
Writing tray  brown ash and sweetgrass 12" x 6" x 3 1/2"  2004
Quadrifoil  brown ash 2" tall x 11" diameter  2003
Nesting Swing Handle Berry Baskets  brown ash and brass 10" diameter, 6" diameter, 3" diameter  2001

On studying the craft: "I learned the weaving and construction of baskets in much the same way that I learned to lace the rawhide in showshoes - by dissecting many an old basket."

On influence: "Edward Newell, a Penobscot basketmaker, was an early influence on my work. I learned a lot from him about picking out the right trees, preparing the splint from the tree, making tools, and designing baskets."

On an accidental reputation: "One summer I made a set of garden basket for my wife , Tammy. She used the baskets all the time and thought other people would like them as much as she did. She started taking them out to the nearby town of Farmingto and set up a display on the corner by the bank. She did this every Friday afternoon, and became know as The Basket Lady."

On the details: "I often leave parts of my baskets hewn right from the drawknife, while other parts have a smooth hand-scraped finish. This sets up a contrast between the tool marks on the rims and the smooth finish of the weaving and handles. I enjoy the interplay of strength and beauty that results from working with both quick, clean strokes, and careful attention to detail."

For more Zeh: "Pieces are available by custom order. A portfolio is available by calling or writing. My studio is open by appointment."

© 2008 Stephen Zeh, Basketmaker        P. O. Box 381      Temple, Maine     04984       207-778-2351

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Maine Home + Design  Intertwining Tradition:
making the ancient art look timeless
October 2007