Elderly Billings couple staying active with their basket-weaving business

Basket-Making Passion Turned Business: The Story of Jill and Paul Scarpari

In the early 1990s, Jill and Paul Scarpari discovered their love for creating handmade baskets. Initially, they simply enjoyed the craft as a hobby and accumulated a large collection of baskets over the years. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that they decided to turn their passion into a business.

Jill was inspired to take her first basket-making class in 1991 and quickly became addicted to the craft. Meanwhile, Paul found inspiration in his wife’s creations and attempted to make his own basket in 1995. Although his first attempt was not successful, he persisted until he mastered the art of basket-making.

The Scarparis found joy in creating various types of baskets, from simple designs that couldn’t hold their shape to intricate ones that stood on their own. Their family members grew tired of receiving baskets as gifts, so they decided to start selling their creations.

Today, Jill and Paul Scarpari continue to enjoy the process of creating baskets as a fulfilling hobby during retirement. Their family members have grown tired of receiving baskets as gifts, so they have started selling them through local stores and galleries like Frae in Shiloh Commons and Three Rivers Gallery in Big Timber. Baskets range from small pine needle pieces to larger functional ones like hampers and backpacks, taking days of work to complete.

Although basket-making is more than just a business for the couple, it is also an opportunity for them to give back to their community by providing unique handmade items for sale. Prices range from $20 to $300, making it accessible for people of all budgets.

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