From Obsession to Business: The Story of Scarpari Baskets

Elderly Billings couple stay mentally engaged with basket-weaving enterprise

In the early 1990s, Jill and Paul Scarpari discovered a new hobby that would eventually become their business. Jill attended her first basket-making class in 1991 and became obsessed with the craft. Impressed by the baskets she was making, Paul decided to try his hand at basket-making in 1995.

At first, Paul struggled to create baskets that stood on their own. But with persistence and practice, he mastered the craft. As their collection grew, their family members grew tired of receiving them as gifts, prompting them to start selling their creations. Today, Scarpari Baskets can be found in local stores such as Frae in Shiloh Commons and Three Rivers Gallery in Big Timber for prices ranging from $20 to $300.

For Jill and Paul, making baskets is more than just a business; it’s a passion project that they enjoy immensely. They find satisfaction in creating unique pieces that people love and cherish. Retirement has given them the time to focus on their craft, adding an element of fulfillment to their post-career lives. From small pine needle baskets to large hampers and backpacks, there are endless possibilities when it comes to basket-making, making it a mentally stimulating activity for both Jill and Paul.

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