Bliss White McIntosh

  • Categories: Basket Weaver, Doll Maker
  • Member Since: 1981

I was born and raised in Cambridge NY and am a founding member of both Hubbard Hall Projects and the Valley Artisans’ Market. I received a BA in liberal arts from Wesleyan University and returned to Cambridge in 1975 to build a house, play music, weave, garden and raise our family. My husband and I have lived our lives trying to create much of our material environment ourselves, with respect for the natural world, traditional design and the wider community of artists that we are so honored to live among. My baskets and cornhusk dolls are just part of that effort.

My baskets are made entirely from materials which I have harvested from local trees. Black ash splint is obtained by pounding on a fresh black ash log until the annual rings separate. The splint is soaked before weaving and then white ash rims and handles are carved green, bent, notched, and then bound to the basket. Birch bark for baskets is gathered in the spring and is cut and shaped into vessels which are sewn with either ash splint or spruce root and then given ash handles for sturdiness. All of the baskets are durable and are meant to be used for work.

The corn husk dolls are also entirely made of natural materials except for a tiny armature of paper and wire inside, and a little hot glue and fishing line. The hair is corn silk; the wings are milkweed pods and the trumpets are made from a gall that grows on goldenrod stems.