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Second Generation Basket Weaving Family Celebrating Two Decades at People’s Choice Festival

by on July 14, 2013 8:30 AM

Growing up, Ann Karl never thought she would have a booth at the 21st annual People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg, but here she proudly stands underneath the “Karl Family Baskets” sign that has hung for 20 of 21 festivals.

Karl’s mother Kristine started the company 37 years ago out of her own basement with her husband Mel Davis, but Karl never thought she would enter the family business.

“When I was growing up, I would help my mom, but I didn’t love it,” said Karl. “I used to always tell myself ‘I’m going to go to college just so I don’t have to do this.’ Weaving the baskets just wasn’t that fun for me.”

What exactly changed?

“The more I did it, I really started to appreciate the beauty of the baskets and all of the work that goes into it. It became a nice creative outlet for me.”

Karl describes her mother as “semi-retired.” She still hangs around a bit, but it is Karl and her husband Rick Poorbaugh who have kept it going strong.

Karl starts with big sheets of wood. Several stages follow including cutting the wood, weaving, making the stakes stand up, installing some nails, installing a handle and then painting the baskets. The entire process normally takes around two hours.

Karl relies on mostly maple wood but has also used red elm and ash in the past.

Baskets start as cheap as $14, but some of the bigger and more expensive ones can be upwards of $90. They can be used for decoration, but Karl wants to give people options.

“We pride ourselves on offering a functional product. People can certainly use them however they choose, but we want to provide something that they will use.”

“I never expected it to turn out like this, but it became a really nice creative outlet for me.”

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Drew Balis is a Penn State graduate, freelance reporter and frequent contributor to StateCollege.com.
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