This Wendell native has a talent for making baskets
Neal Thomas, of Wendell, is a basket maker. His medium is white oak, and he follows the wood throughout the entire process, cutting the trees and splitting the logs himself.
He picks trees by touch, drawing on 45 years of experience. Once split, he uses a sharp blade to deftly extract and shape strips of the oak to weave the basket. It’s a precision skill, one he learned in his 20s, from a man named Herman Holden. Now, he carries on the tradition, crafting the baskets and setting up shop at the NC farmers market where he’s been a regular for many years.
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