Unwrapping a gift weaves joy into ones heart
Everyone is gifted with individual talents and gifts. Yet, not everyone unwraps or figures out the personal abilities each holds. These talents, when found, fulfill a desire in a person’s heart and provides joy to the individual, when used for the purpose intended. Eulynn Keller found her talent at a very early age and has been using her gift for others ever since.
Eulynn, was just a young nine-year-old girl growing up on her family farm in Warrenton. She was involved in 4-H and decided to take a basket weaving class as her project that year. Keller shared, “The craft really stuck,” as she explained weaving just felt natural to her. Keller continued to learn about weaving through her elementary and high school years, keeping in touch with her teacher, Pat Vogler, of Warrenton.
Eulynn’s teacher asked her to help teach classes at a young age and now offers adult and youth classes throughout the area upon request. Eulynn explained, I enjoy sharing my talent with others, watching them learn and receive the same joy weaving has given me.”
Eulynn, now lives in Shelbina with her husband, Levi Keller, and works at the Farmer’s Elevator and Exchange Company as the Livestock Production Assistant. Not only does Eulynn enjoy basket weaving, but dedicates her time as the part-time Youth Ministry Coordinator at St. Mary’s Church, of Shelbina. Eulynn shared the joy she receives working with local youth in grades 7-12, stating, “I love to see the students meet other peers who may have never been friends. This time together promotes peers to be better friends to others.”
Basket weaving is still a hand-crafted talent and dates back to 10,000 years ago. Eulynn shared, “There are no machines that weave baskets. Every basket you see at a store or anywhere has been hand weaved by someone.” Eulynn stated, “Basket weaving has become my hobby, I use my gift of weaving to give back to the community by donating baskets to churches and fundraisers throughout the area,” adding, “I also make baskets upon request, although I’m not very good at pricing them, I just love to weave them for people.”
Eulynn can make a basic market tote basket in less than two hours. The baskets are made from reed, which is a natural plant material grown and hand cut from tropical regions. For the solid base, she uses ash wood. Eulynn explained the process, stating, “The reed can be dyed to be different colors in a basic hot water bath dye. I have to work with the reed while it is wet to prevent cracking and breaking.”
After the weaving is completed Eulynn shared, “The final process is staining the reed with a sealant to prevent mold.” Eulynn signs the bottoms of her baskets with her signature, explaining, “When I go to antique stores I always look at the bottom of the baskets to see if the basket is one I may have made.”
The reed is purchased through online retailers, and comes in coils. Eulynn stated, “Depending on the size of the basket, I sometimes have to purchase multiple coils to get several long pieces of reed to weave according to the size,” explaining the reed cannot be pieced together.” “The reed can even come smoked. Although the reed is smoked in elephant dung,” as she laughed, sharing it is always fun to tell that story in her class, as someone is usually holding smoked reed in their mouth.
Eulynn has made lots of different types of baskets over her years of weaving, including Easter baskets, baby doll cradles and her most unique basket, an antler handled basket. Eulynn shared, “When I graduated from high school and turned 18, my teacher gifted me with a spot in challenging basket weaving class. The basket I weaved is a ribbed egg basket with an antler handle.” Eulynn also takes special orders for baskets, stating, “I love to weave.”
Eulynn explained, “My favorite basket to weave is a large laundry basket, although the technique is a little challenging finding pieces of reed long enough. I have made one for each of my siblings when they got married as a gift.”
Eulynn moved to the Shelbina area, after graduating from the University of Missouri. She shared the joy of meeting her husband there and getting engaged her senior year. Eulynn, and her husband, Levi, who farms cattle and row crop, are expecting their first child in December. Eulynn shared, “We are very excited about having our first child, and I’m not sure how much time I will have to weave baskets with our new addition.” In the future, Eulynn shared, “I would love to open a shop or have a booth somewhere for people to purchase my baskets.”