About Our Art
John & Marcia Whitt
Marcia Whitt has been making baskets since 1981. She took a class with some friends in order to make a few baskets for gifts for family and friends. Since that initial class she has taken others in the Amana Colonies in Iowa, Tennessee Tech University, and from private teachers in Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas.
Marcia has pursued basketmaking full time, part time, and as a hobby. She has learned many styles and techniques, but her favorite style is rib-style construction. Over time she has gravitated toward more natural-looking materials, including local vines and plants. She signs and dates each basket, and makes her own walnut-hull dye for finishing many of them.
Incorporating antlers into her work has become her current focus. Because each antler is unique, the challenge is finding a pleasing way to display it within the context of the basket. Using the antler as an integral part without covering its natural beauty is the fulfilling result.
John Whitt is a self-taught willow furniture designer/maker. In 1982 he was encouraged by his wife, Marcia, to try his hand at making a bent willow chair for the family patio. Since that first chair, his love and enthusiasm for creating this “natural” form of furniture has never stopped growing.
Making the furniture functional and lasting, as well as balanced and symmetrical, has always been an important aspect of his craftsmanship. By consulting experts in forestry and studying subjects such as kiln drying and wood finishing, he has brought modern technology into his construction techniques, which gives each piece a showroom-like appearance and feel.
John’s Bent Tree collection ranges from simple magazine racks to magnificent king-size canopy beds. Noted celebrities Eddie Murphy, George Lucas, Neil Diamond, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue own several of his works.
Every piece is made from select-cut north Missouri willow that is harvested in a way that encourages regrowth and is environmentally friendly.
John thanks the Lord for the talent, skill, and opportunities that have been given to him to be able to enjoy– as well as make a living– at something he loves to do.