Diane Voigt Crutchfield, a pine needle basket artisan, attributes interest in this craft to love of low country sweet grass baskets, popular local products, especially in and around Charleston, SC, her home town. Another early influence was folk crafting found in the North Carolina highlands where she spent summer vacations.
Retirement from a career as a mental health therapist has given her an opportunity to express herself in art. With time to try various interests such as collage and hand-stitched crafts, her quest led to pine needle baskets. After attempts to be “self taught”, she began looking for classes and workshops.
Beginning in 2000, Diane studied with Judy Mofield Mallow, a fifth-generation pine needle artist from Carthage, NC. Judy has written one of the definitive books about the craft and has been on the staff of John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Diane also has taken a class with Nancy Basket, member of the National Indian Education Association and the South Carolina Arts Commission.
Before moving to Southport, NC, Diane lived in Virginia for most of her adult life. While there, she was an active part of the Bay School Community Arts center in Mathews. For many years she participated in craft shows and demonstrated pine needle basket stitching at various gallery and art events. She has won local and regional awards for her work including ribbons from the Bay School Rustic Art Show, Virginia Middle Peninsula National Arts Program, and the Newport News, VA Fall Festival of Folk Art.