Sunday, March 23, 2014

Woven of Wood-East Tennessee Baskets, 1880-1940

While in Tennessee this past week, we took a day trip
to Knoxville and stopped by the Museum Of East
Tennessee History to see the current display of
Appalachian baskets.  
The baskets below were HUGE!
White oak is the basket making material most
widely used in the Central Appalachian Mountains.....
Trees best suited for basket timber are small, from
four to eight inches at the base, approximately
twenty to thirty years old, with straight, smooth,
light grey bark and with no visible knots or
blemishes for four to six feet up the trunk.  Such
trees are likely to be the straightest and healthiest
white oaks in the forest.  
Law and Taylor
Appalachian  White Oak Basketmaking
  The perfect white oak is nearly always found to be 
growing in mature forests on the north side of 
mountain slopes.  Its struggle for light induces it
to grow straight up, and it does not waste it's energy
putting out side shoots until it reaches a safe height.
Susan H. Stephenson
Basketry of the Appalachian Mountains
The basket below is a lidded lunch basket.
I loved the photos of the basket makers.
This tiny basket is in the photo above also.
White oak baskets are still made here in the Ozarks.  Many
of our earliest settlers came from Tennessee and Kentucky,
bringing their skills and traditions with them.  I thoroughly
enjoyed this amazing exhibit, I hope you enjoyed the 
(Now, I really must make Lucy some petticoats!)


  1. All the baskets are so pretty. they have a few of those huge old baskets at the kewanee store. they are filled with raw cotton before it has been ginned. I don't know that they are as well made as these on your blog, but they must have been tough to hold all that cotton as it is probably very heavy. I love the baskets too and it is a skill that I wish I knew how to do, as I need things repaired such as chair seats and wicker chair parts. I am glad you had a good time and took these pictures for us.

  2. Wow, what an amazing collection! If Tennessee wasn't such a w-i-d-e state, I would talk the Bossman into driving over to Knoxville to see this wonderful display. Thanks for sharing!


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