I tried new things, revisited old things, and searched for a purpose. Often, that time was spent sewing. I settled in at the sewing machine, listening to classical music, drinking a cup of hot tea, and dreaming up new ideas. Most of those moments were spent with Penny Lane napping at my feet. My little sewing nook was often my shelter from the world’s storm.
One of the projects I held in my hands was a basket of a new and different shape, something to mark this time in our lives. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make, but I knew that I needed it to seem fitting in a way that gave nod to the struggle but left me feeling hopeful about what was yet to come.
This new basket didn’t come into being easily. I failed more than I succeeded. One day, as I removed my errant stitching in order to try again, I realized just how well suited this piece was for this time in our lives. It is formed with pressure, by the increasing and decreasing of tension. The result is a shape that yields to the pressure without breaking.
As I repeated the shape, making another and then another, I searched for a name for this basket. I researched historical basket shapes, pottery shapes, all in search of a name with meaning. I wanted something unique, something that did indeed tie this creation to this moment. The more I searched for a name, the further I felt from the right one. Nothing seemed to fit.
Last fall I came across a word that I have been holding tightly to it ever since. “Respair” is an old-fashioned word that means, “fresh hope and recovery from despair”. It feels well suited to this current moment in my life, in our lives, as we try to process the last year and emerge safely into something better.
Suddenly, the basket made beautiful and sturdy by the increasing and decreasing of tension had a name. The Respair Basket was born. It had taken me a long time to arrive at my destination, but the basket, its shape, the meaning behind it, and the name had all fallen into place precisely where I needed them to be. More importantly, the process of creating it had given me that purpose I had been searching for.
It is my hope that these baskets will serve as a reminder of the tension and pressure we endured during the last year in equal measure with the hope and recovery that we need. As a way to share that hope, we’ll be donating 10% of the sale price for each Respair Basket to charity. We’ll even let you choose the charity to receive your basket’s donation. We’re starting off with a few charities and will add more as we move through the year.
It’s probably no surprise that one of those charities is the shelter that rescued Penny Lane and made it possible for her to become a part of our family. I can’t imagine our lives without her and count myself lucky every day that The Animal Welfare Society rescued her and safely brought her to New England so that she might find her way into our lives.
While I am counting myself thank you, I also want to express my gratitude to you, Dear Reader. Thank you for being here over the last year. Thank you for giving me the inspiration I needed to keep creating and sharing with all of you. It has been such a gift for which I will always be grateful.
All of our coiled fabric baskets are made by hand at 1840 Farm. Each fabric strip is torn by hand before being combined with other complimentary fabrics and then wrapped around a length of cording, joining the fabrics as we go. The fabric wrapped cord is then coiled and stitched together using a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine. I continue to wrap the coil and shape the basket as it is stitched, ending each one in our trademark spiral design.
We blend new fabrics with select repurposed fabrics to create a pleasing color palette for each item. Each piece has its own unique color pattern and slight variation in shape. Because every piece is handmade, each one is a true original. Our handmade baskets display the raw edge of the fabrics used to create it. They are handmade in our non-smoking farmhouse.
I make our fabric items using the same technique my Great Grandmother used over 50 years ago. She lovingly transformed worn out clothing into useful household items that were used in their New England farmhouse. While her items were made purely for utility purposes, it is my goal to create beautiful handmade items that can serve a useful purpose in your home.
This basket is part of our 1840 Farm Basket Collection. Each basket in the Collection comes with a hand signed product tag that includes the date that the basket was finished. Each basket is numbered and displayed in our photo gallery.
Our fabric baskets can be cleaned by spot washing or in the gentle cycle of your washing machine. Gently reshape the basket while still damp and allow to air dry. Overturning the damp basket on top of a bowl will ensure that it retains its shape while drying.
This listing is for the basket only. Other items shown in the photographs are not included in the sale price. Those items were used for photographic purposes only. Their use was intended to show the utility and various uses of the basket.
We also make custom pieces to order. Contact us if you have questions or would like to place a custom order. We would love to work together to make a beautiful piece just for you. We hope to be sending something special from our farmhouse to your house soon!