Meet Anne Bulmer
My name is Anne Bulmer, and I have been a basket maker since 2008. I've always been intrigued by baskets, and while strolling through a street festival in Leesburg, FL., one day, I passed a woman who was not only selling her baskets, but demonstrating her craft and willing to talk, in depth, about it. That was it - arrangements were made for lessons and I was off and weaving and have never looked back.
The type of basket called a "Nantucket" is woven on a mold, with the base, rim and handles made from hardwoods such as cherry, walnut and maple. All the staves or ribs of my baskets use cane or hardwood, depending on the project. The staves must be cut, tapered, sanded and bent to fit the mold before weaving can begin. I then weave my project basket with cane ranging in size from 1.25 mm to 3.0 mm. It can take up to 4 hours just to prepare the materials for a Nantucket basket. It takes an additional 25 hours to do the weaving and finishing.
"Shaker" baskets are also made on molds, and are simple and elegant in design, constructed entirely of pounded black or brown ash. The size of the basket mold determines the size of the stave used. The weavers I use range from 1/32nd to about 1/8th inch. On a Shaker basket the only hardwood used is for rims and handles. As an example, when making a square or rectangular basket, the bottom is plaited and woven to the desired dimensions. From this type of base, sides are woven, either maintaining corners to form a square or rectangular basket or with curved sides woven to a round or oval shape at the rim.
No basket made of interwoven materials such as cane, twigs, rushes, thin strips of wood, or other flexible material can be machine-made. When you find a basket that interests you, look at it carefully and remember someone, somewhere used their hands to make these truly handmade items.
Use your baskets, enjoy your baskets, don’t abuse your baskets and they will never wear out.