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Diane Thompson

My background has taken many twists and turns to bring me to this journey in Basketry. for 40 years in communications. This journey began while I was working for USA Networks. Had climbed the corporate ladder and earned my corner office in Rockefeller Center, as Director of Billing and Contract Services.  Through this time I met Phil, he was a Media Broker for an outfit in Sharon, CT. We were married and I moved to the Berkshires. 

I had my first round with Lyme Disease in 93'. While I was recovering Bob Albig a gentleman in his 80's invited me up to make a basket. i thought I was just going to sit down and weave, but I was wrong. Bob handed me a small sledgehammer and a oyster knife and told me to follow him. Up to his brook we went, he pulled out a long, we began to pound off Brown Ash in growth ring strips. We cut them into narrower strips and began to weave. This was such an awesome experience I couldn't wait to do it again. 

Several days later, Phil's friend Michael stopped by, I showed him what I had made. To my surprise he told me his mom Joan wove baskets. i knew her from Car shows and antiquing. She drove a 1906 Caddie and I was driving my 1970 Olds Rallye 350. We began a whole new adventure as road sisters traveling Basketry events.

Our travels took us to many of the Shaker Museums for long weekends of weaving. Here I began to weave with the Top basket weavers in the country. I would weave with Joann Kelly Catsos; she has had ornaments in the White house tree and has baskets in the Smithsonian. To Lyn Schlichtling who has won International Awards. To Flo Hoppe, she is a Master of Round Reed. Then i became a student of Martha Wetherbee; she became my mentor from 95' on to today. From Martha I learned all kinds of Brown Ash Traditional Shaker Baskets, Taghkanic Baskets and Nantucket's Baskets

in 2002 I retired from USA and became the Fudge, Cookie and basket Lady at Simar Farm in Millerton, NY. 

My guest for learning Basketry took me to NBO, where I studied with the best across the country. Traveled to State Basket Conventions, where you could weave with a different Teacher every day. Then traveled to Stowe Vt every may for the International Basket Festival. There i worked in every material possible, from Bamboo, Birch bark, wire, pine needles, willow, ash and reed. Over the years studied with teachers from Tokyo, Latvia, Russia, England, Canada and the USA.

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