Okay. I’m not a basket maker, a basket creator or a basket weaver. I’m only a basketmaker’s wife — so bear with me on this description of the basket making process!
Today is probably the first day that I saw the value in having a large wide open space for Mr. Basketmaker. The process of drying splint! Now, I might add that we have experienced lots of value in moving to this wide open space in Tennessee, but before, in our cute, quaint and cozy bungalow up in New Hampshire, I was cooped up in my little studio office and Eric was in his little workshop and our environments didn’t really mix, business-wise.
But here, we live in a wide open industrial building now where my office/studio is in the back, but still accessible and exposed to our living quarters and open workspace. The same space that Mr. Basketmaker will utilize for his own craft.
In addition, it was also delightful because Mr. Basketmaker, my husband, is also a MAN and men don’t share too many things that enter their brains if you know what I mean. I could go on for hours of all the dreams, ideas and thoughts that entered my head at lunch time. Eric? He would let me know once a year of an idea or dream that entered his head!
Well, maybe a slight exaggeration, but after he laid out the splint, here in our industrial building in Tennessee, he shared with me that he had this weird thought while laying out his splint, which is the product of “refining splint material” which is a process called “split to satin.”
So I guess, technically, from what I derived from the explanation and being a non-basketry-person, it’s like peeling the splint in half. And then you have two pieces with a beautiful finished side each, to expose the wood’s satin. Hence calling pre-split splint, SPLINT and split splint, SPLINT.
Confused? Honestly, I am too. I’d say to all my non-basketry followers to move on and don’t give it a second thought. But to all my basketry followers who are really following me because of Eric, it’s okay that you belt out a huge laugh at my expense. But you’re only allowed this one time.
Okay, where was I? Oh yes, back to Eric telling me about his weird experience. When he was laying out all this splint to dry, he shared with me that now he’s in Tennessee he instantly correlated his work process of laying out splint with working on a tobacco farm and laying out tobacco leaves so they would dry. Now that we live in Tennessee, and it’s much more humid down here, he has to take extra precautions in ensuring that his materials (splint) dry properly and not get moldy. Up North, when they come out of the water, he simply hung them up to dry. But now, as southern transplants, it requires an extra couple steps of laying out all the splint separate and flat and putting several fans on them so they completely dry in a speedy manner.
I think that’s so cool! Even though I’m married to a basket maker, and I travel everywhere with him and experience his class instruction, I’m still so disconnected, because of my own work, of what is involved in making materials for his basketry business. I might add that he could easily call another country and have all his materials finished, cut and delivered, but Eric is a true craftsman and an American. He still holds true to his craft and believes in having all his materials made right here, in the US of A.