Monthly Archives: December 2019


Baskets of Yore

On a transatlantic cruise, an unusual crafter caught my interest.  Ann Shaffer had taken up thread basketry to keep her hands busy while traveling. Ordinarily she uses stiffer materials to make Nantucket baskets. My ears pricked at the promise salty heritage, and Nantucket baskets didn’t disappoint. As Ann wove, she told of the men who operated light ships—brightly lit ships that anchored on dangerous shoals to keep passing vessels clear. They passed the time by weaving baskets, a skill settlers had learned from Native Americans.     Over time, the lightship men developed a specific style, using a form—a salvaged […]


Knots…Who’d Have Thought?

I pounced on an early arrival to my Culture of the Sea presentation, hoping to recruit people to join me in crafting souvenir knots later that day. Jan Hanley, it turned out, was once a knot-tist extraordinaire. As a full-time mom, she’d supplemented her family’s income by sculpting massive knot artworks for display in shows and as book illustrations. Huh? How many strapped mothers even consider knot tying as a possible money-maker? Jan seems to specialize in inspired paths less trodden, and I cannot wait to read her latest travel book: “Today We Bought a Cow.” Such a privilege to […]