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Elderly Billings couple staying active with their basket-weaving business

Jill and Paul Scarpari’s love for basket-making began in the early 1990s, with Jill attending her first class in 1991. Inspired by his wife’s creations, Paul attempted to make his own basket in 1995. Although his first attempt was not successful, he persevered until he mastered the art.

From there, their passion for creating baskets grew, with their family members growing tired of receiving them as gifts. The couple decided to turn their hobby into a business, selling their intricate designs at local stores and galleries. Despite being retired for 18 years, Paul finds basket-making to be mentally stimulating as it challenges him to come up with new designs constantly.

Their baskets range from small pine needle pieces to larger functional ones like hampers and backpacks, taking days of work to complete. Jill and Paul Scarpari have found a way to turn their passion for basket-making into a fulfilling retirement activity that also benefits their community. Their baskets are available for purchase at Frae in Shiloh Commons and Three Rivers Gallery in Big Timber, with prices ranging from $20 to $300.

By Samantha Jones

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