I make my baskets from trees that I harvest in the woodlands near my home in the New York State Finger Lakes region. Supple strips of black ash for weaving and dense strong hickory for handles and rims make up each basket.

    Black ash trees grow in isolated pockets of cool, wet ground throughout the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. Truly unique in its ability to separate along the annual layers, it has been used by Native American basketmakers for perhaps thousands of years. I strip an 8-10 log of its bark then pound its length with a steel mallet. Having crushed the spongy fibers between the growth layers, I can peel long strips from the log. These strips are sliced to width and shaved with a knife to a smooth finish.

    For rims and handles, I split lengths of shagbark hickory into billets with froe and mallet. For each basket I carve these pieces into handles and rims, bend them to shape, and lash them securely to the basket.

 

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© 2005 Black Ash Baskets
site handbuilt by The Cyrus Company
Black Ash Baskets
Jonathan Kline
5126 Mott Evans Road
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Phone: 607 387 5718