As a maker, with only a single pair of hands, let's try and streamline those questions.... so that my hands can keep busy sewing and painting!!!! Working my fingers to the bone to ship those baskets out of the studio and into your hands!!
Currently, BasketCase MV baskets are available direct from the maker or at Night Heron Gallery, located at 58 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, MA. Basket orders placed on-line do have the option for pick up on island at the studio in Oak Bluffs. BasketCase MV does ship baskets, and currently, baskets have already floated out of the studio to 25 states and London, England..... sending lots of island sunshine across the water!
From time to time around the holidays you may find BasketCase MV hosting an Open Studio or Popping Up at another island location.... Follow M-C Lamarre on social media or subscribe to the BasketCase MV Newsletter to be in the know!
My studio is located on Martha's Vineyard.... a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. My studio space is perfect for me. It is small.... every inch of space, placement of each window, and even the height of the counter where all calculated decisions to create a fluid workspace.
Given the two above stated factors... I am one person, handcrafting each item in a small space. As I source materials, I have such limited storage for supplies, packaging and products, so for now, the best format is to make each requested item to order. Given you, as the customer, have the option to choose your item and custom color accents, it is easiest to accommodate my need for space for materials, making and moving about.... stocking my space with inventory isn't feasible..... because it wouldn't leave me room to create!
Spot cleaning is recommended for cleaning the basket. 100% cotton rope is very forgiving. I have tested several major brands of spray fabric guards. None of the sprays I tested caused any discoloration. One was not food safe, so be sure to read the label before purchase or application depending on your intended use of your new handcrafted rope vessel.
If you are using the baskets to display or serve food, it is suggested to line the basket with a cloth napkin or place a small tray in the base of the basket.
Have a particular space you are needing to organize? Did you see a prototype during M-C's design process that you just can't stop thinking about? Send M-C a message. Be sure to provide any necessary measurements!
The first basket I made was in March of 2020. I told myself I would create a new piece of artwork, in a medium I am not familiar with for each of Featherstone Center for the Arts' community based art shows. Long before I was making baskets, I was making bowls. I am trained a potter. I graduated from Providence College 1996 with a BA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramics, so the shaping of the baskets was the easy part.... the challenge was the sewing part!
In redesigning my line of rope baskets, I let the 100% cotton rope, rich in texture and density influence the new designs. I love that each piece has little flecks and a natural creamy color. Adding a colorful whipping stitch to the rim, a bright dock line rope handle or a subtle neutral charcoal colored label hand stitched to the basket adds just the right amount of color lending the piece to be classic and sophisticated.
Almost at the end of my rope..... literally!!!
I am really excited to share.... as a sole proprietor, woman owned business, for the last 17 years, I have always given great care to put out the best handmade product possible. This new path in my artistic career as a basket maker has taken my work in a direction I never would have imagined, especially during a pandemic.
With that being said, I am really enjoying the shift in creative thinking and the process of starting something new from the ground up 16 years after I took the leap of faith into self employment as a fulltime artist. I continue to strive to put the best product into the hands of my clients all the while sourcing materials on a local level. Anytime I was able to support small businesses, I would do so. It has always been a priority of mine as a small business owner myself.
So..... I no longer source my rope from China. I have been researching different options stateside. I am excited that I am now supporting two companies that will be providing me with 100% Cotton Rope made in the USA, one of which is a small woman owned business in North Carolina, the other is a manufacturer in Tennessee. My thread is manufactured in North Carolina, my faux leather labels are made by a husband and wife team out west, my dockline and whipping thread are manufactured in New England and I may have just found a source for my stainless steel hardware right in Massachusetts! #shopsmall and #supportlocal.
Inspired and influenced by living on an island and having moved from NewBedford, MA, the number one fishing port on the eastern seaboard... I have always been fascinated by knot tying and how one little rope and properly tied knot can secure an amazing amount of weight.
I was grateful to have a visitor to my studio, an island friend and seasoned sailor. I reached out to him to see if he could teach me some traditional sailing knot tying that I am imagining and incorporating into some of my basket designs. The things I am learning, and the support from the community and friends has been most fun! Thank you, Captain Tom, for your time and for the tying tutorial!!
I don’t want to be doing what Jeff refers to as..... “if you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot.”. Rather, I’d like to properly reflect the island sailors and fishermen that inspire me.
February 2020: My work as I had known it, as a muralist, for the last 16 years, flatlined... completely. It felt like I was back in time on February 29, 2004, Leap Year Day, the day I jumped into self-employment, and was feeling scared and unsure if this was the right decision. Even though I had always been a risk taker, this was different. But I saw it as the right time...... Looking back, it was the best decision, and it has absolutely been a wild ride.
With seatbelt fastened, I have openly welcomed the twists and turns, and bumps and potholes in the road.... I even, from time to time, stopped to enjoy the view. They say it is difficult to succeed, unless you surround yourself with people that will support and encourage you. It’s true. I strongly believe it starts within, but every now and again you need a little nudge, or a dry shoulder, or a serious kick in the pants.
My creative, resilient, determined and disciplined self had to again set sail and take that leap again.....
As I chart a new course, I am excited, overwhelmed and truly grateful for the crazy 2020. Thank you to all who have provided the nudge, shoulder, kick in the pants, and... extra special appreciation to my family, my close friends, my island community, and especially Jeff and Ellie for giving me, when needed, time to myself in the studio to let my creative mind and spirit reboot...
With a basket overflowing with love and gratitude, I wish you all a happy, wisely fun and healthy New Year. Here’s hoping for many red skies at night in 2021.....
...and if the brushes come calling.... they sure do miss their traveling.... so time will tell.