Amy Krone’s life in the Hudson Valley is rooted in connection; to nature, to her community, and to the Appalachian tradition of basket weaving. Based in a small hamlet surrounded by evergreen woodland and gentle brooks, she is one of many craftspeople who have found themselves in this quiet corner of North America. Being a maker might be a solitary pursuit for some, but here, a network of artists sustains a culture of skill-sharing and support through undulating creative paths. “A ceramicist that I met at a local show comes to my basketry classes, and I did a market in his studio,” she says. “There's a lot of interaction between different makers and artists here.”

Originally a graphic designer – a career chosen because it felt “sensible” – Amy knew all along that tactile, hands-on crafts were her calling. She left her role as an art director in 2021 and moved to Hawaii, where she first discovered basketry. Later, she relocated to an expansive plot of land in the Hudson Valley, and an unexpected find in a used bookstore introduced her to the Appalachian method. She was drawn to the juxtaposition between the swooping, organic forms and the ordered nature of the weave. “I immediately took the book into the woods with me and figured out how to make a basket.”

Amy describes the process of self-teaching as a “wild exploration” which involved plenty of trial and error – sourcing the appropriate tools was the most challenging part. But all the while, she was motivated by the knowledge that Appalachian communities, who had very little beyond the basic tools and materials, managed to create beautiful and durable baskets. “Against all odds, they worked out these crazy and beautiful innovations.” Fast forward to now, and Amy’s practice is confident and individual. She has taken the craft and made it her own, harvesting native white oak from her backyard woodland before splitting it by hand into thin, pliable strips for weaving.

The woods are deeply important to Amy. “There’s a spiritual element to it,” she says. “Being surrounded by something greater than myself is extremely humbling.” The fact that her natural habitat is innately intertwined with her craft feels serendipitous, particularly when you consider the abundance of suitable white oak that happens to grow on her doorstep. “There's not a whole lot of white oak trees out there that are appropriate for basketry,” she explains, noting the importance of its strength and malleability. “And then you need to have access to the land to harvest them, which I fortunately do.”

White oak also lends itself well to Amy’s chosen aesthetic, which she describes as ‘organic meets geometric’ and is loosely inspired by mid-century design. “I’m really taken with the dramatic mid-century shapes and how they're quite minimal,” she says. “But there's also this maximalist negative space.” For TOAST New Makers 2024, her baskets marry these contrasting components, toeing the line between raw and perfected. They are decorative and functional, intended to be used for foraging or trips to the market. Amy has incorporated found materials, such as a driftwood branch washed up on the banks of a river which runs through her property. “All of these wonderful objects have appeared on the riverbank,” she reflects. “My partner, Jacob, found this branch that turned out to be a root from the sycamore tree.” After sitting in her studio for a while, the root became the handle of a crescent-shaped basket available at TOAST.

Each basket takes Amy approximately twenty hours to complete. She works slowly and patiently in her studio, sipping tea and listening to audiobooks while tuning in to the rhythms of the craft. “I experience a real sense of awe in preserving the traditions of people who have come before me. It connects me to humanity.” But reviving lost arts doesn’t just honour past generations; Amy believes it is a necessary step in shifting modern attitudes to consumption. Only by finding an appreciation for handmade objects and fostering respect for materials can we disrupt the reliance on mass production. “There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way we consume globally,” she says. “Reclaiming our material lives is a small but critical piece of that puzzle.”

Recognising that this is a sentiment shared by TOAST, Amy applied for our New Makers programme to continue her preservation of Appalachian basketry. Through our year-long mentorship, she will have the opportunity to introduce more people to the tradition and grow her business globally. “TOAST really honours the tradition of crafts, scouring the planet for artists to support. I really couldn't have asked for a more harmonious platform.”

Shop our New Makers 2024 collection.

Amy wears the TOAST Pleated Organic Soft Cord Trousers, Wool Tencel High Neck Tee and Lofty Alpaca Blend Cardigan.

Photography by Adam Deen.

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2 comments

Fantastic article, In South lakes UK there is a swiller who makes the most fantastic traditional baskets in the traditional way And keeping the old traditions going Making Baskets swirls From Oak Woodlands that regenerate themselves

Julie 21 days ago

What a beautiful story , i really do appreciate this womans perseverance to find the life she loves and what a find , its like it was meant to be , that book a diamond lying waiting for her to rescue it and bring its knowlege back to life.

Terence 21 days ago