County Road 12 - Basket Weaver - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

January 24, 6:40 p.m.

County Road 12 - Basket Weaver

   Long before there were paper and plastic bags for groceries or shopping, folks used baskets to carry just about everything. Except for Easter and maybe decorating, there's not as many uses for baskets these days. But that doesn't stop one man from making them, every day. Debbie Williams caught up with him somewhere out along County Road 12.

Like a banjo plucking it's way through a bluegrass melody, "You can't be unhappy listening banjo music.", Danny Phillips twists and bends what once was a mighty oak tree into what's almost become a forgotten art. "They're ain't very many basket makers around," he says with a laugh, "there's just a few of us left."

He sits in the doorway of what would have been a garage for anyone else,"You ought to seen my fathers hands. They were eat up."  His fingers are strategically taped. He learned from his father "He was average guy World War II veteran." He was also a celebrated basket weaver. "I fell in love with baskets when my daddy made 'em. "He only has one of the many baskets his Dad made. "It's real crude but he was learning too. I was out of work for a time and I wanted to learn. So I sat down with him when he came by he came by to visit. He stayed a month with me taught me how to make baskets and he went to a couple of shows and he left." For his father, it was a way to make a living. "My Dad sold all his baskets he sell a basket for five dollars. He just wanted the money right then." For Danny, basket weaving is a lot of things. A way to preserve the past "Before they started giving away paper bags and plastic bags, every town had basket makers that's the way you picked your produce up and thats the way you worked your garden or carried anything." It's a way to carry on a family tradition. "When he passed away our family didn't have any of his baskets so that's what I do with my baskets. I don't sell my baskets, I give em to my family." And just maybe, it's a way to keep his father entertwined in his life, just like that banjo in a good bluegrass song. 

 When it comes to basket making, Danny says he only has one regret. He sold the first basket he ever made and he says, he'd really like to have that one back

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