From Hobby to Business: The Scarpari Family’s Love for Handmade Baskets

Elderly Billings couple stay mentally engaged with basket-weaving enterprise

Jill and Paul Scarpari’s love for handmade baskets began in the early 1990s when they turned their hobby into a business. It all started when Jill attended her first basket-making class in 1991 and became captivated by the craft. Impressed by her creations, Paul decided to try his hand at basket-making in 1995.

Initially, Paul struggled to create baskets that stood on their own, but with persistence and practice, he mastered the craft. As the couple accumulated more and more baskets, 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, ranging from $20 to $300.

Making baskets is mentally stimulating for Paul, who enjoys the challenge of creating different types and styles of baskets, from small pine needle baskets to large hampers and backpacks. Retirement has given him the time to focus on his craft, adding an element of fulfillment to his post-career life. For Jill and Paul Scarpari, basket-making is not just a business; it’s a passion project that brings them immense joy and satisfaction.

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