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Debra Peonio

I was born and raised on the edge of the Badlands in South Dakota. 
Pine trees were few and far between there so when moving to
Colorado, via Nebraska, I fell in love with the mountains. 
I have lived in Colorado since 1985 and part time at Crystal Lakes since 2007. 

After raking bushel baskets of pine needles for fire mitigation, I thought I should be utilizing this mountain commodity.  I began washing, sorting debris and eliminating broken needles, bugs and foreign matter.  I started experimenting with dyeing processes to alter the color of the needles.  Soaking and baking needles in glycerin allows me to darken and alter the natural color as well as keeping the needles pliable and easier to work with.

I use Rit dye for greens, wine, blues and purples, as needed to complete my basket vision. I use waxed thread and sinew for the stitching.  Different stitches and thread size depends on the project. The centers are also a constant consideration, from sliced walnuts to ceramic designs, stained and carved wood from local artists and stamped leather. 

My all-time favorite is the sliced agates I have gotten from a mine in the Creede, Colorado area.  I am always looking for new and different items to use.  I have an outlet in Sedona, Arizona for many beads I incorporate into the baskets and have started using gourds I obtain from a gourd farm near Mesa, AZ as bases.  

Each basket is woven completely by hand. I go through many sewing needles, stitch by stitch, never knowing for certain how large or what the finished design will look like.

The baskets are functional as well as works of art.  They can be used for office clips, car keys, jewelry, bread baskets or anything non liquid.

I want to thank you for showing interest and learning a little about my passion.  I am always interested in any new ideas that might inspire new creations.   

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