Basket maker Linda Corrow was drinking cherry Kool Aid while sitting outside. That’s when she noticed that the hummingbirds wouldn’t leave her alone. They seemed to be attracted not only to the color of the red juice but also to the smell. She took the observation and applied it into her artwork, creating a small basket to use as a hummingbird nest. Since hummingbirds prefer small spaces for their nests and the shape of the basket provided not only a shelter but also a warm area due to its size and shape, they approved. But what they really responded to was the red lip on the opening. That’s because Linda dyed the reeds with red cherry Kool Aid.

Linda took up basket-making just 7 years ago. She was battling cancer and couldn’t work but was miserable sitting around the house focusing on how miserable she was. She tried to start some creative endeavors to occupy her mind. She took a painting class but hated it. She had always been curious about basket weaving so her daughter bought her a couple of basket-weaving kits. One was a kit with flat reeds and one included round reeds. She found that she not only loved basket-making but she had excellent finger dexterity and was successful at weaving baskets with the round reeds. She could turn, twist, pull, tug and manipulate the round ones much better than the flat reeds. The more she practiced the better she became. The better she was, the more she fell in love with the process.

She picks up one of her baskets and points to all the different weaving stitches that are in just one basket, each making a different pattern. She especially likes Japanese weaves because they are simple but she can modify them to make many new combinations of patterns. She has mastered locking reeds together to make an extremely durable basket that won’t fall apart, will sit flat and last a very long time. “These things are indestructible,” she says as she points to the lovely rounded bottom of one of her baskets. “You can throw it like a frisbee as far as you can and it will be just as strong.”

Not bad for someone looking for something to occupy her mind and her hands. The hummingbirds would agree.