Refined Rustic Basket, Molesworth Inspired Carving, Dennis Mitchell Inspired natural twig sides

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 02-18-2009 02:46 AM 6051 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Project Story:

I have two young kids, and they go to the government elementary school. Since the school system doesn’t have enough money to do everything everyone wants to see done, the Parents & Teachers Helping Students (PATHS) committee holds a fund raiser each winter called the “Prairie Fair.”

It is common for local artists and businesses to each put together a “Basket” of items, and folks buy tickets to place in the box for which item they prefer to win in the free-drawing. I think last year there were about 25 baskets up for dibs, and I was fortunate to win one myself.

The money is all collected, and items are purchased that the school system otherwise wouldn’t have funds for. I didn’t know about this tradition last year when I attended my first Prairie Fair, but I asked to be involved this year.

So, to hold my “Basket-Donation” stuff, I decided to design and build a basket to go along with it.

I really enjoy Refined Rustic furniture work, but I seldom have orders for it. So, when I make something that I want, it is often in that style.

I was looking through Dennis Mitchell’s “Woodsong” Etsy Shop a couple of weeks ago, and he had a couple of Primitive Twig Baskets for sale there. Here is a link to one of them I really liked the Primitive basket, and it gave me the idea of making my own basket for the Prairie Fair Donation. I tried to make it look enough different from Dennis’ work that he wouldn’t accuse me of copying his style.

I also enjoy the Molesworth Style western furniture from the Cody, Wyoming area. Molesworth furniture and accessories are an often copied style by numerous makers these days. Even Norm Abram copied one of them on his television show a couple of years back.

The Molesworth company had a similar basket to what I designed for holding magazines, and used router carved artwork on the ends. My adaptation uses natural twig sticks for the side, and to tie them on with artificial sinew thread.

The wood I used on this project came from my kitchen. I bought an old farm at an auction in 2001, and the first thing my wife said had to “go” was the old kitchen. So, I salvaged all of the old pine wood I could from the old cabinets, painstakingly removed all of the old nails, and I use it when a project comes along that fits with Salvaged Pine. The natural twigs came from some saplings along my gravel road about a half mile from my house, and I’m not sure what species they are. I think they maybe Ash, but I won’t know until Spring when the rest of them gather leaves again.

I hope the Basket helps raise some funds for the poor kids at school.

Just in case though, I’m filling the basket with some fancy snack foods that I bought at the store over the weekend. I may also throw in a couple of other items, like a walking cane, or hunting knife, or a piece of jewelry that I’ve made and haven’t sold yet.

thanks for reading,
Mark DeCou

Other Variations on this design are posted here:

Bucking Bronco Magazine Basket
Cowboy Buckaroo Magazine Basket

(this project design, photos, and text are protected by copyright 2009, by the Author, M.A. DeCou. No unauthorized use of this material is permitted without expressed, written consent by the author. Thanks for your help.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

5 comments so far

View scott shangraw's profile

scott shangraw

513 posts in 4062 days

#1 posted 02-18-2009 02:49 AM

Nice project and good cause!! Good Luck

-- Scott NM,

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4394 days

#2 posted 02-18-2009 03:48 AM

Neat item Mark. A tribute to Dennis, but in the DeCou style.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3976 days

#3 posted 02-18-2009 04:40 AM

Well done Mark … especially like the Silhouette … looks like John Wayne

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4240 days

#4 posted 02-18-2009 01:16 PM

It does kinda look like John Wayne, or better known as my cousin Marion Morrison. Thats a fact.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4308 days

#5 posted 02-18-2009 04:23 PM

The sinew is a nice touch. Of course I will happily copy your style!

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