Monday, April 2, 2012

b is for basket

The Basket

"Sale, Baskets."  The sign in the window beckoned to me.  It was too tempting, so I stopped at the array of baskets stacked haphazardly in front of the small shop--one of those shops that specialize in candles, knickknacks, soaps, and a multitude of items no one actually needs, but can't resist having "just a look."

I glanced over the dozens of baskets in all shapes and sizes, lifting one here and there.  How could I use this?  Where would I put that?  And then, I saw it--a grayish, blue, unusually shaped asymmetrical basket with an angled handle made from a small tree branch, bark intact.

As I grabbed the handle, my right thumb settled naturally into a slight bend in the branch--it fit perfectly--and I felt an instant connection to the creator of the basket who had selected this crooked branch; noticed how perfectly it fit the hand, trimmed it, and attached it to the basket.

It was an odd feeling to hold the handle and instantly feel a connection to someone.  Who was it?  A man?  A woman? Probably a man, I decided with a strong hand.  But do men usually weave baskets?  What country?  China?  Mexico?  South America?  From some kind of factory or a more primitive place of production?

All kinds of images floated through my mind--idyllic scenes of China with rows of Asian workers, even children making baskets, working quietly but quickly.  Very romantic, I thought, but not realistic.  The one true thought remained:  someone had put thought and pride into the creation of this work.  I purchased the basket, reluctant to let go of the handle.  

Back at home I thought about workers in far away places and decided to check the labels of some of the clothes in my closet.  The labels read:  knitted in Mongolia, finished in China; Made in Jordan; Kenya: Guatemala; Mexico; Taiwan; Israel; USA (a few); India; Macau; Hong Kong; Turkey; and Honduras--a veritable United Nations right here in my closet.  But despite the fact that I could imagine and appreciate the work and workers of my clothes (if I thought about it), none had that instant connection that I had to the creator of the basket, a hand shake of a sort, through time, space, and distance.

Have any of you bloggers bought or received something from a far-away place and felt a special connection?


  1. This was such a lovely post! I loved the final line ''a hand shake of a sort, through time, space, and distance." It's such a wonderful thought.

    I have had some penpals over the years and one sent me some collages she had made of the cherry blossom tress in her hometown in Japan. It felt so special to recieve something handmade and so connected to her culture, I still have those pictures up on my walls :)

    It's very nice to meet you!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

    1. Great to meet you as well. Thanks for reading this.

  2. Hi there! New follower here. :)

    That's really neat! To be honest, I haven't really thought about where my belongings came from, but now I'll be on the lookout. I have a special appreciation for Asian cultures in particular, so I'd love to find something handmade from out east.

  3. Hi Shelly: Am hopping over to both these blogs and finding this whole experience much fun. I wonder what those factories in China really look like?

  4. I love baskets! And yours sounds so special. Good writing!

  5. I love baskets. I don't know if you're familiar with the Longaberger company. They make wonderful baskets right here on American soil, in Ohio. They're sold through consultants who do home parties. I did that for nine years and have 134 baskets. Each one is signed by the artist who made it. I absolutely ADORE your treasure. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

  6. I am Tina because of a friend from St. Louis. She brought me a bright red Longaberger pasta bowl. They make pottery too. Your collection must be awesome. Thanks for stopping by; I know you are busy.

  7. great post! I felt this connection with my antique engagement ring. It represented someone else's love, and now it represents mine. I did not feel the connection so much to the jeweler who made the ring, more to the previous owner.

    nice writing for the letter "B".


  8. I have a small wooden jewelry box that belonged to my grandma's grandma, who lived her whole life near Antwerp, Belgium. It's nothing fancy to look at, but I often wonder who made it. Was it a one-of-a-kind item made specially for my great-great-grandmother, or was it bought in a shop from among a dozen identical jewelry boxes? Did my great-great-grandfather buy it for her, or was it a gift from her parents, or maybe did she buy it herself? So many questions from one small item!

    Have you read Anne Proulx's Accordion Crimes? It's about immigrants in America, as shown through their interactions with an accordion that gets passed along. It kinda fits with your basket origin thoughts.

    1. Have not read this book, but am writing it down now. You are a special person to go back to my older posts and comment. I appreciate it. I am still struggling with themes and what to write.