Jane Ellen Clark began working with handcrafts while she was
studying to become a teacher. After graduation, she even taught one year of
high school art classes before teaching in her degree field of mathematics and
English. Jane Ellen is currently serving as the Education Director for the
Monroe County Heritage Museum.
Jane Ellen wanted strong and useful baskets for her home and yard.
She was interested in the art of white oak basket weaving, but did not think
herself capable of the laborious process. After studying the Foxfire egg basket
style, Jane Ellen envisioned the same basket using the ever-present kudzu vines
that grew rampant in her area. She goes into a kudzu patch and chooses a
moderately mature vine that is flexible and will not split. She found
that a young vine flakes its skin and an older vine is too brittle. The vine
she uses works like rope, yet dries board stiff, producing a basket with a
sturdy handle and strong body. The chandeliers Mary Ellen creates are hollow
spheres intertwined with tiny white lights. The natural grey white of the dried
vines produces an ethereal glow as the lights reflect among the loops and
Jane Ellen’s creations are also available at the
Monroe County Museum Gift Shop in Monroeville.
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