Margaret Bickenheuser was raised outside of Columbus, Ohio, where her parents and grandparents were familiar with hand work—their occupations included stone smith, seamstress, furrier, woodworker, and keeping a home in harder times that required creativity.
Growing up, Bickenheuser spent summers visiting relatives, her favorite trip being to Sturbridge, Massachusetts, where her aunt lived in a 1740 log cabin that had been added onto many times. Her aunt gave Bickenheuser a chair that sparked her interest in weaving—first seat weaving then basketry a few years later. She made one of her first baskets from a pattern published in Early American Life.
Bickenheuser was a volunteer for Ohio Village in Columbus and a friend of the Basket Shop for more than 20 years. While raising her two daughters and working part-time, she taught basketry at a local museum and YMCA near Springfield, Ohio. Now she portrays an itinerant basket and seat weaver at living history shows and sites across the state.
She lives near Springfield, Ohio, where she enjoys weaving in her shop in the barn, gardening, her animals, and the company of friends.
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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