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Pine Needle Baskets


From: Jean Eger (jeaneger_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 18 2001 - 10:38:58 PDT

The pine needle baskets I did with my H.S.. kids ,when I was student
teaching last year, were a big success. I collected the extra long pine
needles from under some Digger Pines I discovered near my home, and put them
in black garbage bags. Then I put a pile of them on each table for the
students to sort through for the good ones. We used crochet thread that we
pulled through beeswax. Some students created exquisitely neat baskets.
Others were creative and added lids and handles and other flourishes. They
were asking for feathers and beads by the end of the project. (I think
feathers and beads spoil the beauty of the baskets.)

I noticed that the books often show pine needle baskets made with raffia
instead of thread, but I have not tried that. I made an up-close video of
my fingers sewing. That was a big sucess too, because it was hard to see
what I was doing. Starting the basket is the only trick. After that, it is
just a matter of adding needles into the long coil. Pine needle baskets are
Native American and also African American. I believe the history goes back
to the African American families who lived on the coast of South Carolina
until it became developed as a resort and tennis camp. Sorry I don't know
any good web sites about it.

Jean Eger Womack