The rim of this large melon-shaped basket is made of a sinuous twig doubled and bent into an oval shape. The handles are simply exposed, unwoven sections of the rim. Round reeds run the length of the basket, crossed with wood splints woven in a plain weave. A stripe of round red-dyed reeds accents the ends of the basket.
The blue ribbon commemorates the fact that the basket won First Prize at the Maryland State Fair in 1995. It also won Third Premium at the St. Mary’s County Fair, Maryland. These awards not only recognize artist Ira Blount’s skill, they likely mean the basket was on display to a wider audience. As such, they fulfill his greatest hope: “that I can inspire others to create, to challenge themselves.”
After moving to Washington, DC following World War II, Ira Blount mastered dozens of artisanal crafts. His love for crafting, learning, and community engagement would endure over the course of his long life and career.