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Allen Whittington

Fiber / Natchez, MS / Master Craftsman

Artist Statement

About 15 years ago, I became interested in Nantucket baskets after learning that they are sometimes called Cabinet Maker's baskets. My background in cabinet making and chair caning has given me the skills needed to make the molds and bases as well as the skill to weave the bodies of the baskets. I enjoy using a variety of woods to complement the natural color of the cane. I have challenged myself in different ways to create unique baskets such as learning to carve in order to embellish the tops of my lidded baskets as well as well as metal working to create handmade hardware for the baskets. I also cane other items that are in need of repair.

If you have an item that needs caning, please call me at 601 - 442-8096 or 601-597-2207. Depending on the distance from my home location of Natchez, MS, I can also pick up and deliver the items.

Biography

Born in Historic Natchez, Mississippi, I grew up surrounded by beautiful antiques. Because of the climate in Mississippi, it was customary that many of the chairs were caned. I became interested in caning at the age of 18 when I noticed that a chair belonging to my great grandmother was in desperate need of repair. I immediately went to the library with my mother and checked out a book on caning. Being that my parents were schoolteachers, I could never say I was bored. If I did, it meant a trip to the library and in this case, the learning of a craft. I admit it was fun and entertaining, and since then, caning has played a major role in my life. I used the skills I learned from caning chairs and was able to apply them to making the baskets. I still find both making the Nantucket baskets as well as caning other items such as chair seats, cane couches, stools, etc., enjoyable.