Baskets could be found everywhere in Shaker communities. They were found in dwelling houses and wash houses holding dirty and clean laundry; in fields and orchards for carrying fruits, vegetables, and grains; in saw mills for transporting chips, kindling, and sawdust to start fires; in carding mills and spin shops for holding raw wool, carded wool, and yarn; and in the hands of individuals as personal work baskets.
A number of baskets are clearly marked to designate where they belong. The “Z&” is thought to have meant the basket was used in building “Z” which may have referred to the sawmill, and the basket marked “SXX” is thought to have been used in the Sisters’ Workshop.
Shane Rothe (they/them) joined Shaker Museum in July 2023, working with independent curator Maggie Taft on an exhibition for the new museum space in Chatham. Shane is an artist as well as a curator and continues to create in the mediums of painting, sculpture, writing, and performance. Shane holds a BFA from CalArts and an MA in art history and curatorial studies from the University of Chicago.