Talk About Art: Basket Maker Fred Ely

Talk About Art: Basket Maker Fred Ely

fred-ely-basketThe fifth in a series featuring local artists called Talk About Art will take place next Thursday (April 23) at 7:30 p.m. at the Glen Arbor Art Association. The GAAA is offering this series to help the audience gain an appreciation and better understanding of art and how it is created, and the talks are free and open to the public.

Former architect Fred Ely learned basket making in Massachusetts from Ainsley Rockwood and after considerable trial and error, he produced his first mold and lightship style basket in 1985. Often inspired by the legends of Northwest Coast Indians, Fred carves the shapes of animals such as whales and eagles into his rims and handles and embellishes his weaving with porcupine quills, balen or dyed cane and sometimes adds silver or gold decorations. Each basket takes hundreds of hours to create and are highly regarded.

For more information call 231/334-6112 or e-mail



2 replies
  1. Janie Paulin
    Janie Paulin says:

    I was interested in how Fred Ely was doing. I took basketweaving classes from him & came across some paperwork
    from Michigan Basketweavers convention. He was an amazing
    person & teacher. Janie Paulin

  2. Jay Holmstrom
    Jay Holmstrom says:

    Fred distinguished himself carving waterfowl before moving on to baskets. His baskets grace some of the most prestigious homes on Martha’s Vineyard. We own 2 of his baskets. The one pictured above and a sewing basket that features whales as handles. They are truly unique pieces of art.

    Jay Holmstrom

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