I began basket making a year ago, signing up for the winter semester class offered at the Art School at the Old Church in Demarest. All my life, I have worked in the areas of knitting, crocheting, embroidery, needlepoint. My thirty-year-long professional career was in the field of psychiatric social work: first as a clinician and then as the Chief Psychiatric Social Worker at what was, at that time, Bergen Pines County Hospital in Paramus. A major element in such a profession is the absence of closure. Very seldom does such work include a tangible beginning, middle, or end of a specific goal. People don’t live their lives in such dimensions. Working with my hands and creating objects was a helpful way to achieve “touchable” results – whether successful or not.
Following a ten year journey with Alzheimers, my beloved husband Al died December 14, 2015. A year later, looking to continue in my effort to make new beginnings, I enrolled in the Art School basket class. Basketry is a field encompassing multiple materials to produce both functional and decorative objects. Many of the baskets I’ve made are woven using driftwood for handles found along the numerous trails of the Hudson River. (I came home with both driftwood and poison ivy from one of the Palisade paths last spring – certainly a price to pay but worth it!) Other materials include various dimensions and colors of reed, yarn, seagrass, wooden handles and bases, and a pair of my husband’s shoelaces.
I’m having a fun time doing this and also find it a pleasure to share my baskets with others.