Friday, October 28, 2011

One Happy Year

For our first anniversary this year, hubby and I decided to return to the scene of our honeymoon - Nantucket!

Last year when we went, it was in the off season, so we weren't able to check out one of the places I most wanted to see - the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum. Since I've been learning to make these myself, it was really interesting to learn about the history behind this particular art form. Because Nantucket is surrounded by dangerous shoals, over the course of its history hundreds of ships have been shipwrecked in the area. Because some of these shoals are miles off shore, it wasn't feasible to build a lighthouse to protect passing ships. Instead, Nantucket was protected by lightships, which were moored in strategic spots near the shoals. Men were out on these ships for months at a time with very little to do, so they started making baskets as a way to pass the time, and would give them as gifts or sell them when they returned home.
A Sailor's Life
The last lightship returned home in 1973 (I can't believe it lasted that long!) but the making of Nantucket baskets didn't stop then. They have become an art form particular to the island, and the Lighthouse Basket Museum showcases a wide variety of styles, from the very basic to the this one below, which depicts a scene from Moby Dick!
Moby Dick
Lightship baskets are often decorated with ivory (or, these days, imitation ivory) which is sometimes engraved with scrimshaw images like "A Sailor's Life" above.
Some baskets are really tiny - these were made to be "Tooth Fairy" baskets!

 This one was from a local gallery - a project I would like to try sometime! This basket below was my favorite:
It was made by one of my Nana's students!

I came back with loads of ideas for projects, some of which I will hopefully be sharing here soon....but we will be moving (again) in the next few weeks, so it's hard to say when that will happen for sure!

Happy Halloween!!!

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