Nancy McKeown (NANTZ-ee meh-Q-en) does not consider herself a pine needle coiling expert per se (although she has won awards from several California county fairs for every one of her basketry entries so far), but if passion can make up for a lack in virtuosity, she has stumbled into master territory. She is, however, a prolific graphic artist who has worked producing projects for both print and web within a variety of commercial, non-profit, and educational positions over nearly 30 years. Her zest for visually clarifying information matches that of her relatively new-found love of pine needle basketry.

Her inspiration for both baskets and graphic design often comes from the magical outdoor life adventures that she has been fortunate to experience, most notably, living aboard and sailing a small boat on long ocean passages throughout the South Pacific for many years (and swimming there with mercifully-indifferent sharks). Having used functional nautical knots for years, she was especially drawn to the similarities in—and varieties of—the island basketmaking techniques she encountered throughout Oceania and the Pacific Northwest, which led finally, in a rather roundabout way, to the art of pine needle basketry.

Recently relocated from a longtime base in wonderfully eclectic Santa Cruz, California to a new home in Mariposa, known as the Gateway to Yosemite National Park—itself a well-known territory of masterly-skilled Native American basket weavers—Nancy has also lived and worked as an ex-pat American in New Zealand, having earned a Permanent Returning Resident Visa for her entire family through her work in graphics. She is also a member of the National Basketry Organization.

Between graphics jobs, she enjoys music, adventure travel, dogsitting her grand-puppy, learning to garden alongside voracious squirrels after years at sea, exploring the outdoors via foot, bicycle, kayak, or sailboat, and seizing upon excuses to shower folks with coiled pine needle gifts whenever occasions arise.