Sue Fossen

River Falls Baskets

Growing up in the southwestern corner of North Dakota where the only trees were deliberately planted and dry land wheat farming was the primary landscape, my childhood dreams were filled with green trees and running river waters. A trip to the“Black Hills” was like going to paradise and the Ponderosa Pines with year roundgreen were a sight to behold.

Moving to Hot Springs, SD in 2002, having pine trees in my front yard and even more trees and a river running through the back yard was truly a dream come true. At the Hot Springs annual “Christmas in the Hills” festival I was introduced to the artwork of“Pine needle Baskets” and fell in love with them.

I took classes from a local artist and eventually did an apprenticeship until I was ready to discover my own creativity. I continue to study the work of pine needle basket makers, going back centuries to people of Native America, Africa and other indigenous people, as well as modern pine needle basket makers, to stimulate my creativity. Stitching variations are often all that is needed to bring out the beauty of a basket. Sometimes the character of local wildlife or plants as well as natural stone, beads and dyes are added for ornamentation. It seems the pine needles come alive to dictate their own beauty as I work with them. I am honored when my pieces manage to touch the heart of someone else as I remember how my heart leaped at the sight of the first piece of pine needle art I saw.

Pine needles………can you believe it?!?