About 17 years ago Barbara Worthington thought it might be nice to make a basket, not thinking that soon she would be spending her days surrounded by seagrass, sugar palm fiber and split white oak.
But things have a way of snowballing. She began teaching, then supplies were a problem so she started ordering things for herself and her students. "At the time there was no one in the area even making baskets and certainly no one teaching and selling supplies," she says.
Finally, she adds, "the baskets took over."
Just this month Ms. Worthington celebrates the 14th anniversary of her shop, Basket Works, in Catonsville where she sells supplies, books, kits and a few finished baskets.
The walls of the shop are lined with curled-up lengths of rattan reed, coir and other raw materials for baskets. Hanging on racks are thousands of wooden forms and handles. In boxes and baskets there are bunches of pine needles, palm infloresence, wooden basket molds and antlers (used for handles).
In the basket-making classes, Ms. Worthington, or one of the other teachers on her staff, leads the students through the process of making a complete basket in one of many different styles. There are also classes in chair caning and making reed Christmas ornaments.
The Basket Works is located in the Muse at Mellor at 77 Mellor Ave. in Catonsville. Within the same complex are three other crafts supply stores -- the Stitching Post, a needlework shop; the Seminole Sampler, specializing in quilting; and the Weaver's Place, with classes and supplies for weavering and knitting.
The hours for Basket Works are noon to 4 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays (to 8 p.m. Thursdays). Mail order is available. The telephone number is (410) 747-8300.