Spring 2013

A Handy Craft

Lauren Murphy, D13, started making baskets when she was 9. Later, they held a clue to her career

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Lauren Murphy, D13. Photo: John Soares

During the 19th century, sailors aboard the “lightships” (floating lighthouses) off the Nantucket South Shoals developed the craft of weaving rattan baskets with a solid wood base. Now known as Nantucket lightship baskets, they are prized as examples of American folk art.

Lauren Murphy, D13, started making the baskets when she was 9. Later, when she was weighing which branch of the health sciences to pursue, the baskets offered a clue. “I thought about medicine, veterinary, everything,” says Murphy, of Hingham, Mass. “But I love working with my hands, so dentistry was the perfect fit.” The patience and attention to detail needed to complete a basket are the same skills needed in the clinic, she says. “I say the baskets led me to dentistry.”


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