The Essence of Nantucket

Nest of 10 Nantucket Lightship Baskets

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This original, “One Of A Kind”, was created by Michael Kane between 1998-2000. Dorothy Grant O’Hara has done all the scrimshaw work. Michael started this project in 1998 when he started weaving the different sizes to be in the nest of 12 round Nantucket Lightship Baskets. The nest starts with the smallest 1 1/2″ round, 3″ round, up in 2″ increments to a massive 23″ round. Each basket has its’ own theme to do with Nantucket Island and its history is scrimshawed on the ivory. All of the ivory used on the nest is antique ivory. Each basket has ivory ears, ivory overlay handles, ivory buttons on the handles, ivory disk inlayed inside the bottom and an ivory scalloped edging around each rim. The nest turned out to be a much bigger project than Michael anticipated, using 90 pounds of antique elephant ivory and many, many hours of cutting, steaming, and bending this unpredictable medium. There were many hours of research done in preparation for the scrimshaw work. The Nantucket Atheneum and The Historical Association were very helpful when searching for specific things. Some of the information was found by talking to ancestors that still reside on the island. Michael and Dorothy worked together to decide what would be on each basket. The cherry wood that was used for the bottoms and the handles has an interesting story. This cherry was under water for over 150 years in Canada. It was used to make a dam in a cranberry bog. When harvested they recouped 8500 square feet. Most of the wood was used in a library, which a customer of Michaels worked on. Bob Beaumont had a basket ordered for his wife and brought in a piece of wood he wanted Michael to use for her basket. When he told Michael the story, Michael knew right away that he had to have some of this wood. Bob was nice enough to save the unused wood scraps and brought it to Nantucekt for Michael. The cherry is a great asset to the overall look of the nest. If you click through the different pictures and read the write up on each basket you will get a quick history of Nantucket Island.