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Julie Ottesen

Julie Ottesen making a basket

Julie Ottesen

Belle Port Baskets, Belhaven and Traphill, North Carolina

About Julie Ottesen

Shortly after moving to North Carolina in 1987 and building her dream home on Pungo Creek, Julie became fascinated with how baskets could be crafted for a variety of purposes. After immersing herself in the basket-making traditions of the United States through the North Carolina Basket Association, she received a grant to study with Connie and Tom McColley, the renowned Weavers of Wood from West Virginia, where she learned to select her sapling tree, split the wood, hand carve the handle and make her own stakes and caning to create a basket on her own from nature. She also received a grant to study Nantucket Basketry with a very well known Nantucket artist. She also was invited to become a member of The Southern Highlands Craft Guild. Julie has now retired from basketmaking, leaving a treasure trove of unique historical treasures.

Julie has exhibited with The Raleigh Womens Fine Arts Council at Meredith College, Raleigh, NC; Kirkland Art Center, Clinton, NY; Mattamuskeet Swan Days, Mattamuskeet, NC; Albemarle Craftsman’s Guild, Elizabeth City, NC; Bank of the Arts, Craven Arts Council & Gallery, New Bern, NC; Beaufort Arts Council, Washington, NC; Yadkin Valley Craft Guild, Elkin, NC; Wilkes Art Gallery, Wtilkesboro, NC and Southern Highlands Craft Show, Asheville, NC.

The artisan's process

Julie’s specialty was Nantucket basketry. Traditionally these are wood-bottomed baskets that are painstakingly woven on wood or cane stakes around a mold. It is a labor intensive process and can take two to four months to complete. The beauty of this style basket comes from the perfection in construction, weaving and finish. Her pieces range in size and detail, from tiny 2.5” baskets to purses with woven or wooden lids and scrimshaw detailing. These heirloom quality pieces become darker and more beautiful with age.

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