For the last 25 years, I have been exploring basket design through classes, research and experimentation. Though my baskets may be based on traditional designs from early pioneer days, western native influences, or Nantucket Sea Captains, I also weave baskets with more contemporary designs. Traditional or contemporary, each of my creations bears my original imprint. I weave reed from the rattan plant into a wide variety of baskets that are both beautiful and utilitarian. Using special techniques for hand-dying reed, I use dye to produce many shades of colors to complement the natural rattan. Some baskets are stained, a this process both protects the basket and softens the colors for a traditional look. Besides reed, I use some native materials, including cedar, ash, sweetgrass, and seagrass. Non traditional materials may include wire, hamburg cane, yarn, beads and found objects. My work reflects my love of variety.
I am member of the N.W. Basket Weavers Guild and the Columbia Basketry Guild. I enjoy teaching others to make baskets. Currently, I offer classes at Resurrection Lutheran Church in N.E. Tacoma. I am also a director of the Non-Profit Organization Native Bridge. Native Briddge is an intertribal group striving to bridge youth and elders through the passing on of cultural values. Please visit them at Nativebridge.org.
Elaine was born and raised in Minnesota and North Dakota, but moved to Tacoma to pursue her career as a school librarian. She began weaving in the Tacoma Community Schools program in the 1980’s, and now that she has retired has more time to spend designing and creating baskets. She is a member of the Northwest Basket Weavers and the Columbia Basin Basketry Guilds.
Elaine Twogood is also a basketweaving partner in this venture. She and I have been weaving, teaching, displaying, and selling our baskets for most of 20 years. Her biographical information appears below:
Sheila and Elaine gathering cedar bark.
Removing the outer bark from a cedar strip.
The cedar bark is prepared by splitting it into increasingly finer strips and woven into a finished product.