An ancient tradition with modern materials. Ruth Boland loves the tradition of basketry, from the demands of the technique to the sense of control over chaos.
Starting with a bundle of reeds or a pile of strips of paper, Boland begins many baskets with a "cat head" bottom, so called because when inverted the points look like cat ears. Shapes take form as the spokes (verticals) are shaped by the tension of the weavers (horizontals).
Colorful dyes are used for a two-toned effect on her reed baskets. For the multi-color baskets she dabs and stipples sheets of 140-lb. watercolor paper with acrylic paint and then cuts them into perfectly even strips with a pasta machine. The varied color background of the sheets creates a wonderful random pattern in the finished basket.
Boland teaches basket weaving at her studio, which is part of a League of New Hampshire Craftsmen shop she opened recently in Nashua.
In addition to her own work, Boland shows the work of about 100 other League members, from jewelers to printmakers to ceramicists. She will also be exhibiting at the annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair in Sunapee from August 7 to 15.