Kentucky Tourism

Rhymer, Jacob L.

Putney, KY


white oak baskets

Jacob Rhymer was born in Harlan, KY, and currently lives in Putney, KY, also in Harlan County.


Jacob makes baskets and weaves chair bottoms, an art that has been handed down through his family for many years, beginning with his Great Uncle Bolden (Bunt) Howard, who taught himself how to weave baskets from a White Oak tree. His great uncle has been featured in National Geographic Magazine and has a basket in the Smithsonian Institution.


Jacob’s grandfather, Roy Howard, and his brother-in-law Geoffrey Shell, were also basket weavers. His grandfather was taught how to make baskets by his brother, Bunt, and then began teaching Jacob when he was about ten years old. Jacob completed his first basket made completely by himself when he was 11 and it won first place in at the Kentucky State Fair in a 4-H division. He has been making baskets ever since.


Jacob’s grandfather passed away in 1998 and Jacob is now the last person in his family able to do this craft. He truly enjoys working with his hands and feels it’s in his blood—it’s something he can’t not do.


Jacob Rhymer’s work can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea in Berea, KY.