The Pine NeedleMore posts

It’s Not Paper or Plastic, It’s Oak or Hickory

Jul 24, 2012

I generally take my own bags to the store, but like most people, I sometimes forget and the clerk will ask, "Paper or plastic?” I probably overthink it. Early Ozarkers had a choice in what they carried their items in as well, oak or hickory. Before bags, baskets carried eggs, flowers, groceries, laundry and everything else that wouldn’t leak.

Weaving Tradition and Habitat Improvement

The Discover Nature Women group at Twin Pines Conservation Education Center recently tried their hands in making a free-form basket. Volunteer Linda Strauch and Naturalist Reta Barkley assisted nearly two dozen participants to create a basket from oak, hickory, grapevine, fabric and honeysuckle. The ladies learned baskets can be fashioned from exotic honeysuckle so you can improve habitat while harvesting materials for your baskets. Colorful creations can be created using natural dyes from black oak, goldenrod, indigo and walnut. It took a majority of the day, but everyone completed her basket and seemed pretty pleased with the result. Missourians care about conserving the forest, fish and wildlife resources of our state. Learning how to harvest our native resources responsibly or help eradicate exotics while creating a useful item helps us do just that. I wonder how many of these ladies are going to give honeysuckle baskets for special occasions. For more information on upcoming Discover Nature Women programs at Twin Pines Conservation Education Center, go to "Related Information" below.


Barb Ostmann begins weaving her basket at a DNW workshop at Twin Pines
DNW participant Barb Ostmann begins weaving her basket at Twin Pines CEC


Barb Ostmann with her free-form basket nearly complete.
Basket Weaver
Barb Ostmann nears completion on her patriotic theme basket at the Twin Pines DNW workshop.


DNW basket making workshop.
Volunteer Linda Strauch provides feedback and instruction to DNW workshop participants
Volunteer Linda Strauch provides suggestions to DNW workshop participant Lenette Crabtree.


I was curious to see pictures of the completed baskets. And in regards to the materials used, which was easiest and which produced the sturdiest baskets? What were the favorite materials to use, and why?

Good questions Gabriel! I'll get some of the photos of the completed baskets up in the next day or two. The system and I weren't speaking the same language today. The variety of basket shapes and patterns was incredible. The easiest to use for me is the small round vine such as grapevine or honeysuckle. I think it is easier to thread and doesn't break as often. More folks used that than the other materials. Fabric is also incredibly easy but the knots at the ends just don't look as finished to me and fabric is probably not going to hold much more than your dinner rolls. The strongest would be the oak. I think you could fill an oak basket full of rocks and it would hold just fine. I like the oak too because you are using the whole log rather than just the bark as on the hickory. You can also split the oak pretty much year-round and there is a small window, about April to June, to harvest hickory bark. Thanks for the comments and questions Gabriel and check back for the photos. 

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