Each Billie Ruth Sudduth basket is the culmination of many hours of precise handiwork. Here is a brief overview of the process she uses to make baskets and snowflakes.
Dyeing the Materials
She works with all-natural dyes which are designed to be both lightfast and colorfast and are far superior to synthetic dyes. Henna, madder, iron oxide and crushed walnut hulls are her dyes of choice. She has used wine when it turned to vinegar, beet juice, berries, bugs, and flowers among other concoctions. Anything that will stain a kitchen counter Billie Ruth has used as a dye.
Carving the Materials
All of Billie Ruth’s carvings are done on a shave horse using a drawknife. Material is thinned for joining pieces together, rims are carved, and handles are carved and notched. A lot of sandpaper is used during this process.
Weaving the Basket
Preparing the materials and weaving the basket can take well over a hundred hours. Since each one is individaully handcrafted, no two will ever be exactly alike. She rarely works on more than one piece at the time. The excitement for her is to see the basket shape evolve as no molds are ever used.