Artist of the Month – October 2019 – Connie Cromwell
Creating pine needle baskets combines an opportunity to work with natural materials and her love of needlework.
Shortly after moving to the White Mountains, 20+ years ago, Connie met a woman in Pinetop who made pine needle baskets. They were lovely and the memory stayed with her.
A few years ago, she realized a need for a creative outlet. Previously, Connie had tried oil and water color painting and then pottery. It didn’t take long to discover that she has zero talent in those areas. However, she has always loved needlework: embroidery, needlepoint, etc. However, the long ago memory of the pine needle baskets kept running through her mind. Connie started reading and teaching herself and eventually developed a little skill and baskets worth keeping began to emerge. Positive feedback from folks who’ve seen and acquired the baskets, led her to continue the craft. The need for pine needle inventory has provided her and her husband with many pleasant day trips to search for just the “right” needles to work with.
Through trial, error and disappointment, Connie finally found threads and sewing needles that are satisfying to worth with. Embellishments are found in craft stores, on-line, and trips into the forest and even on our own property. The local elements tie each creation to the White Mountain area, which locals and tourists appreciate.