20 Feb Featured Artisan – Amanda Sprinkle
When you pick up an Easter basket prepared to fill with candies, eggs, toys, or books, you might take for granted the craftsmanship that it takes to weave those fibers together.
‘Round the Mountain artisan Amanda Sprinkle says basket weaving takes her anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days of work. She dyes and stains reed, which takes an additional five to seven days to dry. It has become her hobby to create and sell these unique products across Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.
“It’s just about the time you put into them,” she said.
Her introduction to basket-weaving came at the invitation of her future mother-in-law. Amanda says she attended that class in 1999 where she discovered her love of weaving.
“I just like the process,” Amanda said.
Although she rarely keeps any of the baskets she creates now, she shared with us that she kept the first three. She has now created hundreds of baskets.
“I stopped counting at 400 and something,” she said, laughing and noting she used to number sign, and date her baskets. You will no longer find a number, but she still makes sure to mark each product with her signature and date of creation.
Her products range from simple, utilitarian baskets for those who may be gathering vegetables from a garden or farmers market to more decorative pieces for the home. As an artisan, she wants to make sure that anyone has a chance to buy her handmade art. She often provides her family members with handmade baskets for the Easter holiday or when they need to piece together a gift.
“I like the freedom to create what I like that day,” Amanda shared.
Amanda also ventures into other mediums as well, teaching herself how to make jewelry from woven paper after a broken leg sidelined her from much activity in 2010. She uses canvas paper and origami paper to create those accessories.
She uses her talent to help engage other artisans, serving as a judge at art fairs in the region, and now passing her artistic expression down to the next generation. Amanda says she can already see her daughter’s creativity.
While she does spend a lot of her time preparing her next basket collection, Amanda does enjoy playing games with her family.
Amanda is scheduled to attend several craft events this year:
March 25: Hop into Spring Craft Fair | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
May 6: Blue Ridge Artisan Days | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. |
October 21: 5th Annual Holiday Haven Bazaar | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Freedom Hall, Johnson City
Her products are also sold year-round at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace.