Aaron Holsapple of Jefferson City, Mo to Demonstrate at 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Aaron Holsapple, White Oak Basketmaker
Jefferson City, Missouri
Forester Aaron Holsapple is known as “the tree guy,” fitting for his love of the “tree to basket” tradition. He credits three Missouri Ozark families for guiding his craft: the Uhlmanns of Drury, and later the Dudenhoeffers of Linn, who spent decades learning from the legendary Currys of Salem.
In 2017-2018, Aaron refined his skills over the course of several months with the Dudenhoeffers through the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.
Folk Arts Specialist Deb Bailey wrote an essay about this white oak basketmaking team and their approach to the tradition in 2018. Read the story at the link below:
On the National Mall, between June 29 – July 9, 2023, Aaron and second generation basketmaker Billy Owens (Jenkins, Mo.) will demonstrate how to prepare basketmaking materials and how to weave them. They use Missouri-harvested white oak logs that Aaron and his daughter Ashley delivered on June 15 to Missouri State University Libraries’ Dean Tom Peters, who transported them, along with many other Ozarks artisans’ materials, to the National Mall. Aaron and Billy will also participate in the following “narrative stage” discussions during the festival:
Friday, June 30, Aaron and Billy will talk to festival audiences on The Front Porch stage in a session called The Importance of White Oak and Local Woods in Craft Traditions.
Saturday, July 1, Aaron and Billy, with Deb as their presenter, will talk to festival audiences on The Front Porch stage in a session called Passing Down Knowledge: Apprenticeships and Inherited Traditions.
Sunday, July 9, Aaron and gigmaker Anthony Martin join Mo Folk Arts Director Lisa Higgins back on The Front Porch stage in a second session Passing Down Knowledge: Apprenticeships and Inherited Traditions.