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Thursday, April 21, 2016

“Traditional Basket Making To Be Taught In Class In Mardela Springs”

You may think baskets are pretty ordinary, even mundane, things! Well, think again!! Hand woven baskets, made of reed, thin wooden strips, bits of leather, and other materials, are much more than useful. They are works of art! And for a growing number of people basketry is a craft to be learned and perfected, as well as a relaxing pastime.

On May 21, Saturday you can try it for yourself! Westside Historical Society will be offering a class in basket weaving , taught by master basket-maker Susan Taylor, in Mardela Springs, and will be held at the Eyeful Hummingbird, on Fire Prevention Road off Main St.. This class is part of the Saving Our Traditions Series, and not only will you learn to make a beautiful basket, but you get to keep your work of art! Taylor, a New Jersey native, now lives in Hurlock. She has a well earned reputation as the skilled weaver of traditional baskets, enthusiastic teacher of the art, and serious defender of this traditional craft. The mother of three and grandmother of five generously shares her talents to share this important art form and piece of our cultural history.

The study of basket making as art was virtually ignored until the 20th century ; many thought it to be ordinary and simply a part of domestic life and functional use. But historians see it as a key to learn about the daily lives of people and their lifestyles and very worthy of study and research. And in recent years, basket making has been elevated to a fine art, with exhibits of beautiful hand-woven baskets featured in the Smithsonian and other major museums. The National Basketry Organization promotes basketry as contemporary art nationally. In Maryland, those who hope to save this craft and art form have realized we are losing our basket-making traditions and cultures. The skills, patterns, materials, and forms of baskets woven by Native Americans, watermen, and farmers are being saved and passed on to new generations. The functions of baskets vary widely, from containers for fish and eels, apples and eggs, flowers and herbs to drying tobacco and a host of other items.

Since Mrs. Taylor must order the materials two weeks before the class the deadline for registration MAY 1; no walk-ins are accepted. All materials will be provided and snacks will be provided as well, but since the class begins at 10 am and lasts until about 2 pm, students are asked to bring their own lunch, (or order out on that day). Because of the individualized instruction, the class is limited to 10 students. Price will be $50. This basket is one you will be proud to take home! It is a large, continuous weave basket that begins with a square base and ends with a round top and can be used for many things.

Anyone who is interested in joining us for this special tradition and art form – and a fun day -- is urged to contact Sylvia Bradley for more information or to register, either by phone at 410-726-8047, or email

From Westside Historical Society, Inc. ---- Event Sign-up Deadline May 1

P.O. Box 194
Mardela Springs MD 21837

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It also soothes the soul.