NANTUCKET BASKETS

Nantucket Baskets originated more than 150 years ago by crewmen manning lightships off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

The whaling industry sent the sailors of Nantucket traveling abroad where they were introduced to cane material. The use of cane, combined with the technique used by Native Americans of using wooden bottoms for their baskets, made this type of basket very useful and durable. 

The most distinctive process in making Nantucket baskets was the use of wooden molds, which ensured accuracy in size and shape.  Every authentic Nantucket Basket is woven by hand using a wooden mold as a guide.

Originally these baskets were simply called "rattan baskets," and it wasn't until 1856 that the Nantucket Lightship Basket name was used to describe the baskets woven by the men who manned the lightships off Nantucket.  In 1948, the idea of a woven lid was introduced by Jose F. Reyes, and his style of basket are the Nantucket handbags most commonly seen today.  

The Nantucket Basket has become an iconic symbol for its namesake island, and continues to be both useful and collectible.  A finely crafted Nantucket Basket becomes a family heirloom to be cherished for generations as a uniquely American art form.

Our Nantucket Baskets are hand made in Connecticut by Edward T. Connolly using traditional techniques and materials.  Wooden handles are carefully matched to the wood used for the basket base, some of which feature hand carved patterns or inlays. While natural ivory was once used for handle knobs, hardware, clasps, and decorative inlays, only synthetic ivory is now used in the creation of our baskets. 
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