Billie Ruth with some reeds.

Materials
Billie Ruth has numbered every basket she has ever made. During the summer of 1999 she made basket number 7,850. She knows who has every basket and writes it down in a log book. She is very proud of her baskets and uses the best materials on earth to make them. She wants her baskets to look good for hundreds of years.

 
Click there to hear Billie Ruth talk about . . .
the colors of her baskets.

 

Billie Ruth at work.

To make her baskets, Billie Ruth weaves reeds from the inner core of the rattan palm plant. This plant is harvested in Asia and sent to Denmark to be cut. The reeds Billie Ruth buys are cut to all be exactly the same size. This helps her make baskets that are just the shape and size she wants. She uses oak to make the handles. Billie Ruth carves all the handles herself.

 
Click there to hear Billie Ruth talk about . . .
the dyes she uses to color her baskets.

 
 

Billie Ruth's colorful baskets.

She likes to make her own dyes to give the reeds color. Her favorite colors are black and red. She makes the black dye by soaking rusty nails in water for over a month. The red dye is made from henna. She makes a natural color dye from soaking walnut hulls in water. The reeds are kept in the dye bath for many weeks. This helps give the reeds a rich color that won’t fade.

 

Click there to hear Billie Ruth talk about . . .
the beauty of basket making.