Barrier Island Baskets

Apr 29 2013

by Melissa Lee

Photo courtesy of Chris Viola

What a pleasure to spend some time with Dave Loehle, seeing the beautiful baskets he weaves and discussing the process that goes into creating each piece. Not only are these baskets a piece of fine artwork, each in its own way, they are also utilitarian. Use them in a centerpiece, in a wall grouping, on a hall table or in any way your creativity leads you!


No price can be put on the time it takes to create one of these beauties. Dave estimates that it takes around twenty hours to make the larger baskets.

The Loehle family made their way to St. Simons Island about ten years ago while exploring possible locations to retire. As fate would have it, Lucy, Dave’s lovely wife, was offered a position at FLETC, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, located in Brunswick and the rest is history. They now live on St. Simons followed by two of their children, Joe and Betsy, who have also left their indelible imprints on the area. Joe is a talented graphic and web designer. He designed my site and many, many others as well as putting Golden Isles Magazine together each month for the Brunswick News. His photographic talent is known throughout the area. Betsy Loehle Knight is a favorite of mine. I featured her in an early post of The Permanent Tourist as the best pet groomer in the area, given that honor by Elegant Island Living for four years in a row. I feel a connection with all of the local Loehle’s and suspect that when I meet their other son, who lives in Jacksonville, FL, the circle will be completed.


But, back to the baskets. Here is a grouping of a few of the creations Dave has recently come up with. He gathers the sweet grass on the edge of local marshes. The baskets are a gift from nature, in a way. You can’t purchase the materials to make them, you have to get out and find them in their natural environment. The newer baskets have this pale green color with the sweetest, most organic fragrance. They age and become more of a wheat color, as seen in the first photograph.

Recently, Dave began adding beautiful pieces of spalted Live Oak to the bases and tops of his baskets. The fungus in the wood creates a swirling, colorful dimension that he carefully prepares for weaving the grasses that form these exquisite pieces.


Both Dave and his wife worked at West Point in upstate New York before retiring in our area. I felt the warmth of family and “home” when I met them. Dave’s baskets can be seen throughout the home as well as his newest venture. Wooden platters and bowls he fashions from different woods, including cedar, which smells heavenly, oak and other wood he uses to produce these lovely pieces. I love the organic aspect of his work.


Meeting Dave is a treat, he is calm, centered in who he is and obviously very focused on creating a life of retirement that is stimulating and never, ever dull. Family means everything, anyone will sense that upon entering the Loehle home.

bib-tag (1)

Visit to see more of Dave’s work and inquire about ordering.

Dave Loehle – 912-634-7695 –


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