Pine Needles are used in making coiled baskets in several regions of the United States, with local species of pine used in each region. In North Carolina, needles of Long Leaf Pine, (Pinus palustris Miller), Slash Pine (P. elliottii Englem,) and Loblolly Pine (P. taeda L.) are used. Recently fallen intact pine needles are gathered from the florest floor and frozen to eliminate infestation. Basal short shoots are removed and needles are softened by soaking in hot water. Needles are held in rounded bundles about .75 cm. in diam. by a short metal tube. Bundles are coiled in a long continuous strand to form a basket. Additional needles are continuously added to lengthen the bundle as the basket increases in size. Coils are held in place in the basket by sewing with raffia palm (Raphia farinifera (Gaertn.) Hyl.) or nylon thread. Hats, mats, and baskets of a wide variety of shapes and uses may be made by pine needle coiling. Shells, dyes, slices of walnut fruits (Juglans nigra L.) or gourds (Curcubita sp.) may be incorporated in the basket as decorations or as an integral design feature. Stitching patterns may also be decorative. Pine needle coiling was proably part of pre-Columbian Native American crafts, and hats were made in the Southern states during the American Civil War (1861-1865) Today, pine needle baskets are made primarily by hobbyists for decorative purposes, or for sale at fairs and craft shows.
|Pinus palustris, Long Leaf Pine, in North Carolina, USA. Courtesy Donna Wright|
|Species of pine used are chosen based on needle lenth. From left, Pinus palustris, P. elliottii, and P. taeda, long enough for use in basketry; on right, P. virginiana Miller, too short for basketry.|
|Pinus palustris needles on the ground before harvest for basketry|
|The basic coiling pattern.|
|Pinus palustris needles prepared for use by soaking in water and bleach and removal of the base of the fascicle.|
|A typical basket made with Pinus palustris needles using nylon thread and slices of Juglans nigra fruits.|
|Details of decorations using slices of walnut (Juglans nigra) fruit (left and right), and raffia palm (Raphia farinifera) for webbing (left).|
|Details of the rim of two baskets showing needles with the base of the short shoot removed (left) and left intact (right) for decoration.|
|Mr Bill Newman making a basket. Needles are held in place by a metal guide (upper two photographs), then sewn into place (lower left). Needles are continually added to lengthen the bundle of needles for coiling (lower right).|
|Examples of pine needle basketry.|
|Baskets for sale at a craft show in Cary, North Carolina, USA.|
Land, M. 1978. The art of pine needle basketry. Privately published. Greenwood, South Carolina. USA. 12pp.
Mallow, J. M. 1984. Pine needle and nut crafting. A Way with Words. Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, 38 pp.
Mallow, J. M. 1997. Pine needle basketry. Lark Books. Asheville, North Carolina. USA. 112 pp.
Mr. Bill Newman and Ms. Judy Mallow are thanked for graciously providing information on pine needle basketry.
|This poster was prepared by James E. Mickle, and has been transcribed by permission, sponsored by The Pine Needle Group|