Viola Knudsen’s art is devoted to highlighting the beauty of the natural world and inspiring others to appreciate and protect it. To that end she creates unique, fine art baskets of pine needles and other products of nature in innovative shapes. The majority of her baskets are made of pine needles and many incorporate other natural accents, such as walnut slices, maple leaves, philodendron sheaths, and bezel nuts. Viola’s artistic curiosity has also led her to use other natural mediums, such as sea grass and palm inflorescents for baskets and vessels.
Viola lives in Palm Bay, Florida with her husband. Her back yard is registered as a “Wildlife Habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation. At first she saw palm baskets and was drawn to them. Eventually, she chose pine needles as her medium over the palms because she found them more artistically versatile and she didn’t have to climb a tree to retrieve them. Viola is meticulously devoted to perfection in her art form. She gathers her own pine needles. She does not rake them for fear of breaking or bending them. Instead, she picks them up one-by-one. Only the perfect ones make it into her baskets. After she chooses the needles they are soaked to kill the bugs and to soften. She de-caps each needle then coils them into the basket. Once finished the basket is left to dry then Viola applies polyurethane to ensure durability.