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On the island of Nantucket, the Nantucket Lightship Basket developed over many decades into the distinctive basket so highly prized by collectors today. The baskets evolved in the mid-nineteenth century from wooden splint baskets made by Algonquin Indians and were adapted by Nantucketers, who introduced hardwood bottoms, utilized wooden molds, and replaced wooden splints with rattan. The fascinating history of this basket and its makers is richly illustrated with color photographs that detail construction and show beautiful examples of the craft.
Special emphasis is give to depicting the rigorous life aboard the New South Shoal lightship, the crew of which produced beautifully constructed baskets, many of which are shown here. The history of the basket is updated to the present day, including the 1940s development of the covered "pocketbook" basket and the work of contemporary basket makers.
For the collector, Martha Lawrence provides details to consider in evaluating antique and contemporary baskets. She also takes the reader through easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for the construction of a basket, including accurate photographs of the stages crucial to producing an authentic piece.
Lightship Baskets of Nantucket is a fascinating study of a craft whose popularity is increasing and whose heritage is as enduring as the baskets themselves.