Before He Was a Basketmaker.

This year, because we moved to Tennessee, we had to switch up our routine regarding holiday planning and visiting.

decorating-tree-momjo

Since Eric had a workshop in Connecticut the first week of December, we decided to spend Thanksgiving in New Hampshire and stay there all week to visit with family. We ended up being away from home for two weeks.

But doing our “holiday visiting” over Thanksgiving worked out quite well. While staying at my in-laws, I got to help Eric’s mom decorate her home and Christmas tree.

Here she is, putting on one of her many ornaments. And of course, like clockwork, when I take out the camera, Chance has to find his way into the scene. He quickly maneuvered his way to the foot of the tree and sat at MomJo’s feet — As if to let everyone know, and to document, that he was completely responsible in the adornment of this tree.

And while unpacking MomJo’s boxes of holiday decorations, I found a priceless treasure. Or rather, two priceless treasures. Below a few santa figurines were these two sweet  fragile and old (and when I say old I mean old) homemade ornaments.

basketmaker-ornament-eric

Who made them? Why our very own Mr. Basketmaker. No, not recently. When he was a little boy (that’s why I said “old”… that had to have been a very loooooong time ago! te hee). I learned that it wasn’t for a school project or the result of any instruction. MomJo said one day he decided to sit down at the table and make a couple ornaments for their tree.

So he grabbed his little scissors, some markers, tape, cotton balls and of course, the main ingredient — discarded Devil Dog boxes for his canvas. It appears that, with these little creations, he was meticulous and inventive at a very early age! Look at all this detail! And his construction abilities with tape on the back of these. Like a true artist — underneath it all it may not be so pretty but when you flip it over, they’re a work of art!

basketmaker-future-artist-ornament

MomJo guessed he was around 8 or 9 when he made these. I think they’re so adorable and thought I’d share with all his fans. I love how he cut out individual limbs and placed in front and back accordingly. I think most kids his age back then would have simply cut out the entire shape in one shot. And I especially like how he was reclaiming trash and creating “upcycle art” decades, and I mean decades, before it became trendy.

However, I’m sorry to announce that they are not for sale. No matter what the offer, they are priceless. 🙂

A Future Designer for Eric Taylor Basketry???

On our way to Minnesota, we stayed overnight at my favorite sister’s house in Oak Park, IL. So instead of writing a post yesterday, I hung out with my nephews, Sam and Ben, who always seem to be very loud when I’m around! So I apologize for neglecting the blog for a couple days but I enjoy being with them one-on-one so much, that I want to soak up every minute of it! (until they start driving me crazy, then I head on upstairs to the guest room and shut the door.)

So the evening mainly entailed two things: 1) I was trying to convince Ben (the youngest) to be an opera singer. Yes, an opera singer. I have lots of videos proving my case. And he enjoyed belting out a few choice songs.

And 2) I taught Sam how to be an auctioneer and Ben to be a bidder, therefore playing “Auction” (loudly) for the rest of the evening. Sam picked up his role immediately. But Ben, he either went backwards in his bidding prices or he bid himself up. So he wasn’t quite getting the hang of it.

Then he started bidding in quarters. I would bid 15 dollars and he would bid twenty-one quarters. Sam would look out at the crowd for other bidders, which was only me as the sole 2nd bidder, and being so bad at math myself, I was trying to calculate twenty-one quarters into dollars so I could yell out the next bid, however, Ben would quickly belt out “Seventy five quarters!” and then .0005 seconds later, “Three duck-tape-handbag-me-ben-icecreamhundred quarters.” I couldn’t keep up.

Now speaking of Ben, this brings me to a little story I need to tell you about him and how he feels about my Mr. Basketmaker.

This is me and Ben eating ice cream. We snuck out together after he helped me do the dishes and I told him we could do whatever he wanted. And going for ice cream was his request. And those are not my sunglasses. I grabbed my sister’s in error. They are swimming on my face. Ben was getting a huge kick out of the fact that they kept falling off my nose. He repeated “Auntie Kiki, your nose is not big enough for those glasses… your head is big enough but not your nose.”

Anyways, back to my story… Ben is quite a creative kid. And he loves making things out of ordinary materials. For Christmas he made Eric and I our own robot sculpture made from plastic ‘thingys’ laying around his playroom. But his favorite artistic material has to be good ‘ole duck tape.

So on one of my visits, he asked if I would like him to make me a handbag. I said “Most definitely! I’d love a handbag made from Ben!”

It took him about two hours to complete. “It’s a very precise process Auntie Kiki,” he explained.

“It just doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, but what goes between the tape is just as important, even if you don’t see it,” he continued.  (very smart kid.)

duck-tape-handbag-basket-benHe would let me know the various pieces of colored tape he was putting in between two pieces of tape to make sure I knew that even though I cannot see this color, it’s in there and serving a purpose.

Well, long story short, after careful planning and creating, this is my new, one-of-a-kind couture handbag. It’s absolutely perfect for me. I love it! Especially the duck-tape-handbag-basketdifferent ‘squares” that form a basketweave look (so I was told.) I inserted a stack of Mr. Basketmaker’s price-lists so I could hand them out at any given moment. It’s my new workshop handbag that I’ll use for all of Eric’s business collateral.

I then later asked him if I could post his latest creation on my blog. He quickly asked me, “Does Uncle Eric read my blog?” And I replied “Yes.”

After a little thought, he said, “Auntie Kiki, please don’t write about my handbag on your blog.”

After some coaxing on the reason why, he leaned over to me and said, “I don’t want Uncle Eric to steal my design and copy it onto one of his baskets.”

Oh my gosh… I laughed so hard! You have to admire the high opinion he has of his artistic abilities… that another artist would steal his design because it’s that great! I’m still one of those artists who is trying to create something that doesn’t end up in the trash!

You gotta love his confidence. And I certainly could learn a thing or two from my nephew… Thanks Ben!