Colorful reed basket by Derek Downing
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea will feature four different basket makers in the month of March who create baskets in a wide variety of shapes and styles – just right for your Easter basket! All artist demonstrations are on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Center.
On Saturday, March 3, Virginia Petty, of Berea, will demonstrate her baskets made from natural materials from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center.
Petty has been making baskets for many years and is primarily self-taught. For her demonstration, she will use the natural dried leaves and vines that she finds and gathers in the region surrounding her gardens and yard in Madison County.
On Saturday, March 10, Janet Northern, of Mount Vernon, will demonstrate her basketmaking techniques using hickory bark and honeysuckle vines from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center.
Northern has been making baskets for 20 years and is primarily self-taught. She utilizes the wood and natural vines that she finds and gathers in the region surrounding her Rockcastle County farm to create her baskets. The eastern Kentucky woodlands give Northern inspiration as well as material from which to work.
Three members of the Berea Welcome Center Carvers will demonstrate a variety of woodcarving styles and techniques on Saturday, March 17, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center.
On Saturday, March 24, Elizabeth Worley, of Lexington, will demonstrate a wide variety of baskets made from reed from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Center.
Worley creates contrasting color in her baskets by dying the reed with walnut hulls and incorporating old kitchen and garden utensils and tools into her baskets. Her love of antiquing inspired this direction in her work.
On Saturday, March 31, Derek Downing, of Lexington, will create a variety of baskets from colorful reed, honeysuckle vines and raffia from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Downing began designing and creating his unique baskets in 1986. His designs are based on the traditional egg-basket form and are woven from grapevine, hand-dyed rattan and seagrass, a material less commonly used for woven baskets. The handles of his baskets are crafted from native grapevines.
Downing’s baskets are distinctive and many feature vividly colored accents created from the dyes he mixes for his basketry. Visitors at the center can enjoy watching him weave and then select the perfect finished basket just in time for Easter!
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is located just off Interstate 75 at Exit 77. The center’s exhibit, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information call 859-985-5448 or go to the Center’s website or visit their Facebook page.
Photos, left to right: Hickory bark baskets by Janet Northern; "Zipper Basket" by Elizabeth Worley; Daylily leaves baskets by Gin Petty