He had been weaving conventional baskets as a hobby, ever since the day he and his wife Sue stepped into a shop, in search of material to cane a chair seat with. Sue was the one who came up with the suggestion that Brown should try making baskets.
The first time Brown saw an antler basket, he was intrigued. My impression was that it looked like an ordinary ribbed basket, but with an antler for a handle, Brown says.
He decided to try incorporating an antler into one of his own baskets. Once again, he found himself using a drill - but instead of drilling teeth, he was drilling individual holes into an antler, for the baskets reed to fit into. That was the beginning of Browns unique basket sculptures.
In 2003 he entered one of his baskets into an event by the Michigan Association of Basket Makers, and won both Best in Category and the Viewers Choice Award. Even though he knew he had those aforementioned abilities, he never thought of himself as a real artist; he thought that to be an artist, one had to have years of special training.
I am so happy, I found something that I find satisfaction in doing, Brown says.
He admits that because this is a hobby, he likes to challenge himself and really push the envelope to see how intricate his work can become. He says that he could never make two baskets alike, even if he tried, because every antler is different. He explains that none of his baskets are preconceived and says, that his work is always evolving.
The shape of the antler causes the design of the basket to happen, he explains.
His sculptured baskets always attract a crowd of admiring spectators, whether at The Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids, or, this past summer, at the juried Alden Depot Art Festival, held on the shores of Torch Lake.
And today, the dentist is finally realizing that he is, indeed, an artist.