Robin Reed makes bark baskets from the willow and poplar trees that grow along the banks of the Kentucky River and its tributaries in Estill and Lee Counties near his rural home. The making of bark baskets goes back for thousands of years and Robin gives voice to this old tradition.
The bark is gathered in the spring and summer with a hatchet. Separation of the inner and outer layers is done with the use of a draw knife. The inner bark is then soaked in water, cut into strips and prepared for weaving. The larger sections of bark are cut into different widths and lengths, soaked in water to soften, then folded into a basket. The basket form is then stitched together using strips of inner bark. Each basket is signed and dated, ready for garden and decorating use.
Robin Reed’s work can also be found at the Appalachian Kentucky Artisan Center, Hindman, KY; the Kentucky Museum of Arts + Design, Louisville, KY; and at many Kentucky State Park gift shops.