Billie Ruth Sudduth is a widely acclaimed basket maker who lives in the mountains of North Carolina. A native of Sewanee, Tennessee, where she was born in 1945, she was raised in Birmingham, Alabama.
Basketry is actually her second career. After earning degrees in psychology and sociology from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, she pursued a career as a medical and psychiatric social worker and school psychologist for more than twenty years. In 1983 after a particularly taxing school year, her boss suggested she do something fun and relaxing over the summer. She elected to take four basket-making lessons at the local community college—and they changed her life.
She juggled two careers and family responsibilities for several years before turning to basket making full-time in 1989. Since then, she has achieved fame as one of America’s leading craftspersons.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website