Basketmaker Leon Niehues works in the traditional Ozark splint knife method. He is mostly self-taught, having learned from an instructional booklet published in the 1950s by the University of Arkansas. Working mostly in white oak, Niehues harvests his materials from his own woods in northwest Arkansas. He employs time-honored techniques, weaving freeform to reinvent the traditional oak utility basket into elegant sculptural forms with loose, flexible whips and asymmetry. Niehues received a Mid-America Arts Alliance/NEA Fellowship Award (1995) and the Arkansas Living Treasure Award (2005).
Portrait photo courtesy Sharon Niehues.