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.
there to hear Billie Ruth talk about . . .
the colors of her baskets.
Ruth at work.
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
there to hear Billie Ruth talk about . . . the dyes she uses to color her baskets.
Ruth's colorful baskets.
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 wont
there to hear Billie Ruth talk about . . . the beauty of basket making.