Simply Baskets Home
Nantucket Basket and Nantucket Basket Purse Handbag

Simply Baskets offers fine quality handwoven Nantucket Baskets - both Lightship Nantucket Baskets and Contemporary Nantucket Basket selections. The following Nantucket Basket selections are available for immediate sale:


Many of these fine purse (handbag) Nantucket baskets were crafted personally by me, and a handful were crafted by other fine Nantucket Basket weaving craftsmen.  Each Lightship Nantucket basket and Nantucket Basket Purse is woven over a traditional wood basket mold and woven with the finest quality basket weaving materials, fine leather purse straps and bone or ivory scrimshaw.

You may find the traditional Nantucket basket purse also called a Nantucket Basket Pocketbook, Lightship purse basket, Nantucket basket handbag and Nantucket basket shoulder bags - some with contemporary leather purse straps.

Just click the photograph of any of these fine Nantucket Baskets above - to read even more about their fine construction and for purchasing details.

What is a Nantucket Basket or a Nantucket Lightship Basket?

No other basketry design and style is as unique to its place of birth as the Nantucket Lightship Basket and Nantucket Lightship Basket Purse.  The characteristics which identify these absolutely stunning baskets are not found on any other basketry style in the world.  The Nantucket Lightship Basket originated more than 150 years ago by crewmen and captains manning the lightships off the coast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

The whaling industry sent the residents of Nantucket Island traveling abroad where they were introduced to the use of rattan cane.  The use of cane, combined with the techniques used by the Native American Indians, using wooden bases, made this type of basketry very sturdy and durable.

The most distinctive process in making a Nantucket Lightship Basket was the use of wooden molds.  Many of the original basket molds were made from the lightship masts themselves, enabling the crew to craft nesting Nantucket Lightship Baskets.  The molds were used to ensure the accuracy in size and shape.

Originally, these fine hand-crafted baskets were called "rattan baskets."  It wasn't until 1856 that the first Nantucket Lightship Basket was named.  The name was derived from the men who manned the Lightships and originally crafted this type of basket..

In 1948, the idea of a using a woven lid design to top a basket in order to create a ladies Nantucket handbag was introduced by Jose F. Reyes. The covered basket that he produced was the handbag that is most commonly seen today.  Most of today's Nantucket basket hand bags are adorned with some form of decoration, whether it be a finely scrimshawed scene on an ivory plaque or a carved ivory whale or scallop shell.  Some may be crafted with leather purse straps instead of a traditional hardwood basket handle.

The Nantucket Lightship Basket and the Nantucket Lightship Basket Purse (also known as a Nantucket Pocketbook or Nantucket Shoulder Bag) have become an emblem and a symbol that clearly says "Nantucket Island."  The unique baskets continue to be both useful, collectable and valuable.  A finely crafted Nantucket Lightship basket or Nantucket Lightship Basket Purse will increase it's value with age.  Many of these finely crafted baskets are considered family heirlooms, which are passed on generation after generation.

Today, the Nantucket basket is being crafted all over the USA and even on the International Space Station by fine craftsmen!  (Weaving Nantucket Baskets on the International Space Station) No longer are Nantucket basket weavers confined to Nantucket Island weaving.

You can read more about the history and construction of a Nantucket Lightship Basket here.
handwoven basket
Simply Baskets HOME
African Tribal Art Baskets
Whale Baleen Baskets
Buttocks Egg Baskets
Contemporary Baskets
Folk Art Baskets
Gourd Art Baskets
Native American Indian Baskets
Nantucket Baskets
Shaker Baskets
About the Weaver
Site Map
Basketry Links