Appalachian White Oak BasketmakingHanding Down the Basket
Law, Rachel Nash, and Cynthia W. Taylor
Paper Edition, $24.95t
Paper ISBN: 0-87049-672-7
Status: In Print
DescriptionIn an era when baskets served as basic containers for gathering, transporting, and storing goods, many settlers in the Central and Southern Appalachian mountain region found white oak the best material for basketmaking. This book surveys the varied forms and techniques that evolved as basketmakers selected, prepared, and wove this wood.
The authors display special appreciation of white oak basketry as an important dimension of regional material culture. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, including interviews with traditional basketmakers in the Central Appalachian region, Rachel Law and Cynthia Taylor establish a framework for classifying, comparing, and identifying Appalachian basketry forms. In demonstrating how details of basket construction, technique, and style can be linked to specific makers, regions, and ethnic traditions, the authors have created a resource essential for cultural historians, collectors, and craftspeople.
The three major types of white oak baskets—rib, rod, and split—are carefully delineated in this study. Oak rodwork, which previously has received little attention, is extensively treated here as a specifically American adaptation of European willow basketmaking. For all three major types, this volume details construction techniques for numerous variants, using copious illustrations and clear explanatory text.
The Authors: Collaborators in research and writing since 1982, Law and Taylor were recipients of an Appalachian Studies Fellowship, Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, in support of their documentation of Appalachian basketmaking. Both are educators and trained craftspeople with special interests in traditional arts.
Rachel Nash Law has studied basketmaking in the United States and Europe. She has taught numerous white oak basketmaking workshops and exhibited widely in juried and invitational shows.
Cynthia W. Taylor has documented traditional basketmaking in this country and in China and has curated related exhibits. Specializing in basketmaking, weaving, and dyeing, she is an artist-in-education in traditional arts for the Ohio Arts Council.
"Rachel Law and Cynthia Taylor have produced the definitive book on white oak basket making. . . . They have identified the best basketmakers and discussed their tools, material, and techniques. This will be a valuable book for collectors, students of folklife, and those who appreciate skilled, intricate, and beautiful crafts."
—Loyal Jones, Director, Appalachian Center.
"If you do find one, (an old white oak rod basket) this book will help you appreciate what you've found; and should you want to trace its lineage, this book would be an excellent reference—maybe the only reference available."
—Alana VanDerwerker, Maine Antique Digest
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