sue-williams-2013Once considered the most prolific white oak basketmaking region in the United States, Cannon County and neighboring Warren County now claim only two remaining active white oak basket makers. Sue Williams is one of them.  She states, “I am the only white oak basket teacher in Middle Tennessee. Years ago, white oak basket making in Cannon County was one of the major sources of income.” Williams learned from legendary basketmakers Estel and Gertie Youngblood.  Her apprentice Brenda Kucharski – already a skilled basket weaver – has never built a basket from scratch,  which entails finding and processing the raw materials herself.  Williams will teach Kucharski the strenuous process of selecting the right kind of white oak tree, cutting it down, identifying the parts of the tree best suited for various parts of the basket, and processing the splints.  Williams will also teach her basket styles that Kucharski does not already know, such as the Cannon County Tie. Kucharski hopes, “This will allow me to become an independent white oak basket maker and to share the skill with others.”  They plan to set up an exhibit at the Arts Center of Cannon County and/or the Magness library in Warren County.

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