Pat Moore never thought she’d get into basket weaving, but now she has more than 80 regular students attending her classes.
In January of 1999 before moving to Washington from Florissant, Moore made her first basket.
Moore’s friend Kathy talked her into going to the basket weaving class. Originally, Moore had said no.
“I have to give her all the credit,” Moore said. “She talked me into going to the class.”
After that first class, Moore continued to attend classes because she needed some friends aside from the people she worked with.
The lady who taught the class, Mandy, came from England with her husband. Mandy taught the basket weaving classes at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. This also was the church Moore attended.
Mandy would teach a class once a month. She would bring a basket and the class would weave duplicates.
After moving to Washington Moore received an email about an opportunity to teach various adult education classes in the evening.
One of the classes listed was a basket weaving class. So she volunteered.
“I thought I could teach basket weaving having only made six baskets,” Moore said. “It worked out great.”
The students would weave three baskets each quarter. When the class began to grow, Moore had to split it into two nights.
The most students Moore liked to have in her classes were six to eight. She was getting 10-12.
After three or four years, she switched the location to her house.
Then the class would come every week instead of three times a quarter.
After retiring in 2017, she switched to teaching basket weaving classes at St. John’s Mantle. She taught there for 16 months.
Moore was shocked that some of the students in her previous classes followed her to the new class.
“These girls followed me,” she said. “It was the darndest thing. I couldn’t believe it.”
After teaching classes at the church, she moved to New Haven and turned her basement into a studio for weaving.
Now, she teaches classes every Monday and every other Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Moore does charge for her classes, but it’s based on the basket’s price.
She grew up in Bellflower with eight sisters and one brother. Her parents were farmers.
After high school, Moore attended Sanford Brown College for nine months through the administrative assistant program. She became an assistant to a chiropractor where she worked for 11 years.
In 1978, she had her first child. She ended up having two boys and one girl.
Moore stayed home for 16 years. Then she cleaned houses once her children were out of kindergarten.
Moore lived in Florissant for 25 years before moving to the Washington area.
In 1999 Moore and her family moved to Washington. She worked for the Washington School District for 18 years. She was the administrative assistant to the special education director for 16 years and then she worked in human resources for two years.
In 2017, she retired and moved to Wentzville. However, with Moore still teaching classes St. John’s Mantle at the time, she grew weary of the drive.
After 16 months she found a home in New Haven with a beautiful view of the land and a large basement area.
She said the area was perfect to turn into a studio for moving the classes to her home.
Moore was set up on a blind date two years ago with a guy named Gary.
On Valentine’s Day of this year, he proposed to her and Moore accepted.
Moore said he’s been helpful with her basket business. He takes care of the housework so she can focus on baskets.
In total, Moore has made roughly 3,300 baskets. She also said she knows how to make about 800 different styles of baskets.
“Most of my baskets are made out of reed,” Moore said.
Her favorite basket to make is called a Nantucket. The ones she makes look like an acorn.
“They come out so nice,” she said. “They’re made on a mold so they come out the same size.”
Moore always has her students make a farmers’ market-style basket before anything else.
“You have to conform the basket to the handle,” she said.
The uses for baskets can vary depending on the basket. Some of the baskets are used for storing sewing supplies. Others are used to hold quilts.
Moore keeps a basket in the car to hold purchases she’s made and she likes to use totes to carry her piano music books.
The Nantucket baskets can be used as a key catch or for change.
The hardest basket Moore had to weave was a basket that incorporated deer antlers.
“Basket weavers pride ourselves on not using nails, glue or screws to hold (the baskets) together,” Moore said.
She added that repairing old baskets is a difficult task as well.
Sometimes people will ask her to repair a basket that was made over 100 years ago.
“You don’t want to ruin it,” Moore said.
Since those baskets are generally fragile, Moore said it’s hard not to break strands while repairing the basket.
Moore attends several craft fairs throughout the year to sell the baskets she’s made.
A few of the places she’s sold her baskets at in the past include Tower Groves Farmers’ Market, Stone Hill Winery, Miller’s Landing, Washington Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Fair and Hermannhoff.
Moore said her daughter makes fun of her for leaving price tags on totes she carries around.
“I’ll sell anything now,” Moore said.
While it’s easy to get attached to things we make, Moore tries to have a different mindset.
“I always say to myself, ‘you can make another one,’ ” she said. “I don’t need to keep stuff, I just need to make stuff.”
Aside from going to area craft shows, Moore teaches at a convention at the State Basket Guild every year in August. She’s been attending for five years.
Moore recently has been getting into strand and web caning chairs, which are different styles of weaving chair seats.
Sometimes the chairs she finds that need to be rewoven are pretty cheap. One of the chairs in her studio was purchased for 50 cents.
Moore, who now lives in New Haven, can be reached at 636-667-1554 for information about the classes she offers.