Lomia Nunn, Graham

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Lomia Nunn (1993)

Lomia Nunn, (1913-2003) was one of Alabama's most traditional basketmakers. She learned her craft from her father, who made cotton baskets for farmers in and around Randolph County. This was a serious source of income for the family and all the children participated in making the baskets. She recalls staying up past midnight as a child to help her father complete orders for baskets.

She also recalls the first basket she sold as a young girl and all the wondrous items, such as sewing cloth, she bought with the $1.50 she was paid. In adulthood, she was the person folks in the area went to when they needed new bottoms put in their chairs or to replace a worn-out basket. However, as a single mother raising her 13 children, her main efforts went into raising and butchering hogs and growing vegetables for the table. After developing heart disease, she discontinued her hog farm on doctor's orders and began to devote her efforts to making baskets.

Though her baskets were no longer used in farm work, she still valued strength and durability over appearance. She does not "dress" (or smooth) the splits unless a buyer requests (and pays for) that luxury. Her baskets do what they are supposed to do; they are comfortable to carry and feel secure when being used and they last. Lomia Nunn has taught her craft to her daughter and several of her grandchildren. Her children and grandchildren are proud of her work, and happily assisted her in it.