"The Nantucket Lightship Basket has evolved since settlers first inhabited Nantucket, Massachusetts in the 18th century. Its creators were first influenced by the Algonkian Indians who used simple weaving patterns in their baskets and later by the Nantucketers who added strength with a wooden bottom. The beauty of the Nantucket Lightship Basket was perfected by the sailors who served aboard the
"Because lighthouses could not be built easily on the mud and shifting sands of the Nantucket shoals, the United States government commissioned lightships to be anchored in that area to caution whaling and other vessels of the hazards off the island. The lightships would be anchored in a given location for 3-5 months at a time. To pass leisure time many of the seamen, who also were coopers (people who make or repair wooden casks or tubs), became basket makers. They developed the technique of using molds (from their cooperage skills) in order to give their baskets exact measurements for use in trading, selling, etc. This third element of the Nantucket Lightship Basket became the final development in its evolution. Naturally, each basket maker added his own personal signature trademarks of creativity."
"A beautiful Nantucket Lightship Basket is characterized by its wooden bottom, its tight rattan or wooden weave, and its mold-based construction."
"My interests in both basketry and photography were enhanced while living in
Thank you, Shirley for a great history lesson.
Saturday, April 27th, Shirley will be demonstrating her basket weaving at the Dragonfly Gallery from 2:00 to 4:00. Please join us for refreshments and Hawaiian music.