Milton Gross has been making oak strip baskets and bottoming chairs for decades. I have posted about him before, and there is information about him through at the Mississippi Folk Artist directory.
He told me he learned it from his brother, and has “always” made them, which I’m gathering means over fifty years. He starts the process by cutting down the oak tree he uses to make strips. He lives at Sardis “near the Coca Cola plant,” and shows up on the Square in Oxford on a very irregular schedule, selling baskets out of his vehicle. He always stops by my office, and I’m pretty likely to buy one.
They are strong and designed to be used. And the price is right– he wanted $25 for the basket below, which he says took him “about three days” to make.
This time I got his contact information; anyone who wants to seek him out for a basket can email me and I’ll share his phone number. I’m going to see if I can get him to come to next Tuesday’s Oxford Farmer’s Market.