Nantucket Basket Bracelets
Collectors value Nantucket Baskets not simply for their delicate beauty, but for the painstaking effort, skill and attention to detail that culminate in these intricate creations. To master the meticulous art of weaving traditional Nantucket Baskets, one must be gifted with a specific set of talents and abilities: creativity, dexterity, patience, persistence and commitment.
Hingham artisan Dar Collins brims with these exceptional qualities and, for the past 24 years, has expertly applied them to every basket she’s produced. About four years ago, Collins expanded her repertoire to include the latest trend from Nantucket Island: bracelets fashioned from the same materials and techniques as the treasured baskets.
Starting with three cane staves, Collins weaves each bracelet around a three-quarter-inch cuff (sizes vary). Staying true to the Nantucket Basket style, the bracelets are adorned with ivory on each end. She emphasizes that she uses only certified, recycled, pre-ban ivory—meaning that no new materials have been harvested from animals, a practice that’s prohibited. She does offer an acrylic alternative, but has found that most customers appreciate the unique aesthetics of repurposed ivory. To make each bracelet unique, Collins adds a customized design that’s etched onto the end caps, such as a seahorse or a monogram.
“For a friend of mine who goes shark-diving as a hobby, I designed one with a great white shark,” she notes.
To date, Collins has created more than 500 basket bracelets from her Crow Point workshop. She enjoys the process of bracelet-making, as well as the ability to complete multiple cuffs in the amount of time it takes to weave one Nantucket Basket. All told, she can construct a Nantucket Bracelet in under three hours—as opposed to toiling for 15 to 18 hours on a single basket.
Collins’ Nantucket Bracelets can be ordered through her Facebook page, and start at $275.
—Jennifer H. McInerney