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Meet the Members of The Mammoth Cave Basket Makers Guild

Leona Waddell

Leona Waddell trimming her splits with a knife.

Large picnic basket with dyed splits

Small egg basket


"Born the fourth of 16 children to Henry L. and Ella Mae Puckett Trulock. I was raised in Cub Run, Hart County, Kentucky. In 1945, at age 18, I was married to Elza Waddell and had five children, 3 sons and 2 daughters. My husband passed away in 1979. After his death, I began making baskets on a more regular basis."

"I first learned the basic techniques of basket making from my mother when I was approximately nine years of age. I then developed my own style of baskets."

"As a child, we made the baskets and traded them to a local merchant in exchange for food. We also sent baskets to many Northern and Western states in exchange for boxes of clothing. Later, me baskets were purchased by Curtis Alvey and sold to many upscale stores in New York. My baskets have been purchased by many individuals throughout the United States and many foreign countries."

"My baskets are made from white oak timber. The tree is cut, then split into smaller and smaller pieces. The splits, hoop, handle and ribs are then whittled out with a knife. Once this process has been completed, the process of putting the basket together begins. The approximate time in completing a basket is about one week."

"Those wishing to purchase a basket may contact me at the phone number listed above".

Leona Waddell

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Click here for Leona Waddell Brochure PDF file size 804KB

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