KFP Pays a Visit to Leona Waddell

Kentucky Folklife Program Director Brent Bjorkman paid a visit to Kentucky White Oak Basketmaker Leona Waddell last week at her home in Cecelia, Kentucky. 

For over 20 years, Bjorkman and the KFP team have been intimately connected to the basketmaking community of South Central Kentucky (the Hart, Edmonson and surrounding county area) documenting this internationally-known art form and sharing the wisdom of these makers. 

Leona, a celebrated basket maker recognized by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts as a National Heritage Awardee also continues to be celebrated on a regional level (Kentucky State Fair and Hart County Split White oak Basket Contest) for her precision work.  Born near the community of Wax in Edmonson County, Leona grew up weaving baskets alongside her mother Ella Trulock. 

The distinct construction techniques of the region she learned from her month (the unique handle wrap or burr and the Southcentral style of flatten basket ribs continue in her construction today. 

During the visit, Brent took several videos of Leona splitting white oak, as well as a clip of her weaving. Watch the montage here.

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