Handmade, Custom Keepsake Baskets Are a Hit For the Holidays

Photography Provided

It all began because of chickens. Six years ago, Chris Ingram discovered the perfect basket to carry eggs in from the chicken coop on her small farm in North Judson. Her investigation revealed that they were called clothesline baskets and she found herself making them in different shapes and sizes. When other people saw them, they were captivated as well and her business Coop de Chick was born.

“I have always had an interest in crafting which I come by naturally as both of my grandmothers were avid crafters,” she says. “Until I discovered clothesline baskets though, I had never found a passion for anything specific. I immediately fell in love with them. They reminded me of old quilts and old rag rugs, two of my favorites.

“I pulled out my mom’s old sewing machine and started researching and sewing,” Ingram adds. “I remember being so excited about my first basket. I shared them with my then co-workers and have not stopped sewing since. I started a Facebook page and everything just grew from there.”

Clothesline baskets are colorful and typically round, although they can be made to hold rectangular casserole dishes, too. They are assembled by sewing clothesline that has been wrapped in narrow strips of fabric. Used for all kinds of purposes, they can preserve memories as well.

“There are a variety of memory products in today’s market, but I thought the baskets would be something completely new,” Ingram says. “I put out a post on my Facebook about wanting to make memory baskets and the response was immediate. I can use many different types of fabric, from cotton shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas, flannels and denim, but I cannot use sweaters or anything that is too thin or crazy thick.

“There have been instances where people have held on to clothing items for more than 20 years and have entrusted me to create special keepsakes. A mother brought me her own wedding dress to be made into two baskets, one for her daughter’s upcoming wedding and one for her son’s future wedding. When she came to pick them up, she brought her daughter and surprised her with the basket. There were happy tears and lots of hugs. They were going to use the basket to collect wedding cards at the reception.”

For several years, Ingram has partnered with another local artist, April Neace, who creates designs etched in glass pieces such as bowls and baking dishes. Inserting Neace’s creations increases the functionality of the baskets. Popular combinations of the two crafts are the cookie and dog treat jars as well as the personalized bowls.

Prices range from $15 for a mini-heart basket to $100 for a one-foot tall magazine basket. Among the many other items offered are placemats, trivets and coasters. Custom sizes and shapes are available. Ingram is happy to take special requests.

So why is her basket business called Coop de Chick?

“The name Coop de Chick actually came from my husband,” Ingram says. “When we were building our chicken coop, he one day jokingly referred to it as ‘Coup de Chick’ as in Coup de Ville. I changed that spelling to Coop to relate to my chickens.”

Visit CoopdeChick.com for more information and to order clothesline baskets.

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