It is the annual "Hog Wild for Art Festival," and Betty Bain is sitting under a tent, weaving to and fro, as observers watch her technique for creating a basket. Bain is a basket weaver from Dallas County and is well known for her creative and functional baskets.
My curiosity was sparked by her ability to weave at a steady pace. How did you initially start making baskets? "A neighbor of mine would make some of the prettiest baskets, and I thought it was an interesting craft. She offered to teach me, and I have been doing it for over 42 years."
Strips of wood made from white oak, ash, cane or reed are used when creating a basket. Bain uses mostly reed from China because it is readily available. Cane is always used when making Nantucket baskets. Betty's creations include baskets with color woven designs, and some feature painted art on the outside.
Bain says it takes a week to ten days to complete a basket. She starts in the morning at 8 a.m. and works until 5 p.m. "It takes 3-4 weeks to complete a Nantucket basket because there are numerous processes required. The baskets are made with a wooden bottom." Ideas for her patterns come from borrowed patterns and those she creates herself. "I often re-invent other patterns to my liking because it works better."
When it comes to caring for baskets, Bain recommends taking them outside and spritzing lightly with a water bottle. Nantucket baskets should be wiped with a damp cloth.
She is currently working on a collection of clothes baskets with handles. The baskets will include cloth liners that can be removed for laundering.
Bain's art is available at http://blackbelttreasures.com.