Appalachian Baskets Picture
This basket, among
other uses, is perfect for carrying eggs. The curved twin bottom holds eggs in place perfectly and even if there are only a few in the basket, they won't roll around. Appalachian baskets are made with intersecting hoops ("bools") and evenly-spaced ribs held together with tight weaving.

Appalachian baskets come in a variety of sizes, from miniature versions made for children to the large "four dozen" baskets, used for gathering a lot of eggs. Their makers were primarily of Anglo-Saxon descent, living in the Southern Highlands. A heritage of ribbed baskets hascome to America with them from England and Scotland, and were adapted to locally-available materials. In the old country, these types of baskets were traditionally made of willow, but in America oak was more readily available, and thus used. The result is the white oak basket of the Appalachians, woven of thin slivers ("splints") with handles and rims. This style is unique to the region.

When an apprentice basketmaker finished his training, it was customary for him to weave a sample basket to demonstrate his craft. This style of basket was often chosen, as it was beautiful, useful, and prominently displayed the skill of the weaver. Many fine early examples survive, as a sturdy oak basket lasts for generations: today they fetch surprising high prices. A pristine oak twin-bottom basket in good shape may well cost over $200. However, with some common household tools and less than ten dollars in materials, you can weave an egg basket large enough to carry twenty four (or more) eggs from the hen house to your breakfast table.

Source: Adapted from an article by Ron Pilling

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