The search for Berkshire basket makers goes on


Looking for a garden basket has turned into a larger quest than I'd imagined. I know the Berkshires are rich in skilled artists -- but finding them isn't as easy as I thought. The Internet offers me gift baskets from Guido's (also an excellent thing in their own way) and basket-making kits and basket-weaving teachers in St. Louis.

So I would like to send a question to the artists who gathered at the Handmade Holiday Festival and the Monterey Makers tour and the Williamstown craft festival and the Berkshire Botanical Garden holiday marketplace -- and will gather at the Handmade Holiday Shindy this weekend, or offer their work at the Becket Arts Center on Saturday, at the Old Stone Store in Sheffield or at Spencertown Academy.

Could we have a county-wide website?

Many people want to buy local these days. Imagine a website that would let me search for gifts I'm looking for -- artisanal honey? Glass beads? Imagine a site that would show me who in the Berkshires makes ash baskets, and where and how to find them -- and would tell me whether the baskets are meant to be used. Then I could see and touch a basket before I buy it, to feel how it balances in my hand, and simply to know how large it is.

After a week of searching, asking questions and combing files, I'm still looking for basketmakers. Could a site like this help the artists, as it would help me?

Wendy Jensen and and Jo Ann Kelly Catsnos' websites show beautiful baskets for indoor use. I hope to learn more about them,and about Ann Clark, Gerrie Kennedy and Claudia Lawrence's work; the Hancock Shaker Village has recommended them.

I salute Hidden Hills at for the handcraft listing on their site, and I hope to meet all the people in it -- but there are no basket makers here.


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