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Weaving a difference: senior uses basket weaving passion to give back to community

For Lee Rose, basket weaving isn’t a joke. It’s a ministry.

Two Saturdays a month, Rose’s apartment at Buckner Westminster Place in Longview is transformed into a basket weaving classroom. All proceeds from the classes go toward Heartisans Marketplace, a local volunteer-driven nonprofit dedicated to providing customized job training programs to underemployed women in the community.

“I have known young women who struggled as single moms or had their world turned upside down from one or two bad decisions,” Rose said. “If we can provide women like them with a second chance, we can turn their world right side up again.”

Rose began partnering with the organization in 2014, and since then she has led both private basket weaving classes at Westminster Place and group classes at Heartisans. In addition to donating proceeds, Rose also donates completed baskets for purchase at the Heartisans giftshop.

“This cause really touches my heart, and I find fulfillment in giving back any way that I can,” Rose said. “Basket weaving is a true passion of mine, so it’s nice to bring together two things that I enjoy doing – basket weaving and giving back to those in need. I’ve been making baskets for 25 years now, and have made nearly – if not more than – 1,000 baskets during that span of time.”

Rose went to her first basket weaving class to support a friend, but immediately fell in love with the craft herself. The class instructor invited Rose to travel to Maine and Wisconsin with her to study the art. Now, Rose is using her knowledge and skills to teach classes in Longview. She makes baskets inspired by Native Americans, and her favorite styles are copies of the Creek, Choctaw and Cherokee tribes. Baskets can take anywhere from one day to two weeks to complete.

So far, she has donated an estimated 50 baskets to the Heartisans cause.

“These young women can really flourish with the right support, encouragement and guidance,” Rose said. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of Heartisans, where I might encourage others with my artwork. I am amazed at the work God is doing through this organization; He is alive and active. I only hope that my baskets and the classes inspire the people who buy and attend them.”

“Lee’s volunteer work is heartwarming, and it is moving that she creates art to benefit a wonderful cause that helps young women in need,” said Wes Wells, executive director of Buckner Westminster Place. “We have many active volunteers that reside in the community, each with a unique cause and way to be involved and give back. It is a pleasure seeing them use their talents, their time and their resources to make a difference in the lives of those who need help.”

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