Hand crafts

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I have told the story of my great-grandfather here before—the Horace Kephart of Great Smoky Mountains fame, whom Ken Burns brought to life with care and meaning in his most recent series, "National Parks: America's Best Idea."  Kephart was the father of six when he left his life as a librarian to travel and then to live mostly alone in the Smokies; one of his children, a son named George, would become a forester and an official in the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.  He would also be my grandfather.

This tiny porcupine-quill basket is among the many artifacts George Kephart left behind.  Recently I helped my father take this and a series of other Indian-crafted baskets to an auction house, with the hope that a collector will rightly make room for them.  It is hard, however, to give up family history, even if one doesn't quite know, nor will ever know, how a basket this tiny and carefully made came into the possession of a handsome, taciturn man.


bermudaonion said...

It would be hard to let go of a treasure like that. I hope the collector who gets it will treasure it.

Beth F said...

It would be very difficult to let this go, but perhaps the new owner will know the best way to keep it nicely preserved.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Beth, I can't imagine how difficult this must have been for both you and your Father. I'm sure the person that buys your Grandfather's art will cherish it.

Lilian Nattel said...

That's lovely. It's hard to imagine the patience of porcupine quill designs. Someone will love it and take good care of it.

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