Pocket Life

By Corky Mau
December 2020

Dream Weaver

Her baskets are natural works of art
Eugenia Gwathney picks several brown, dried-out leaves from her garden—six or eight narrow strands of Japanese iris, red hot poker or Tritonia. She dampens the leaves with water to make them pliable. Then she weaves them into her latest sculptural basket.

Basketry came into her life in 1982. A friend took Gwathney to her first basketry class in Manhattan Beach. “Char and I would roam the streets of Los Angeles picking up yard waste to incorporate into our weaving. There was an abundance of Dracaena, palm tree fruiting stalks and fruit tree clippings—and all for free,” she says.

Basketry is one of mankind’s oldest crafts and art forms. It’s practiced in almost every corner of the world. Natural fibers such as leaves, vines and bark can be woven into ornamental baskets and utilitarian containers.

Today Gwathney plants a purposeful garden to produce her woven baskets. Tour her Pocket backyard and you’ll find split-leaf philodendron, Watsonia, red hot poker, Tritonia, daylily, gladiola, bearded iris, grape vine, purple plum, Japanese iris, willow and wild grape. During certain times of the year, she’ll roam local streets for pink palm, date palm inflorescence, and branches from apple and apricot trees.

“I’ve been an up-cycler all my life. I just store the materials until I need them,” she says.

She insists basketry is only a hobby. But Gwathney has established herself as an accomplished weaver. She’s an active member of several state organizations, including the Sacramento Weavers & Spinners guild. Every room in her home is filled with woven baskets. Her collection includes more than 300 pieces, many collected from her travels around the world.

When it’s safe, she might teach some small group classes in 2021. If you have questions, contact her at eugenia.gwathney@gmail.com.


The Greenhaven Soccer Club is teaming up with City Councilmember Rick Jennings and the Pocket Greenhaven Community Association to hold its third annual Toy Drive. Collected items will go to families in the Outside the Walls program. This local nonprofit works with low-income, at-risk youth and families.

Soccer club president Beth Koster says, “We feel strongly about giving back to our community. Our toy drives have collected almost 400 toys for local families. This year, the need is greater than ever. So many families are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.”

The toy drive will be a “touchless” drive-through event Saturday, Dec. 5, from 2–4 p.m., in the parking lot of the School of Engineering and Sciences on Gloria Drive. Just drive through and drop your new unwrapped toy into a bin. Toys for all age groups are welcomed. For more information, contact Koster at b.koster@att.net.


Last month, the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library reopened its doors to the public. It was a welcome moment for all.

The library implemented a number of safety measures to protect public health. All staff and patrons 2 years or older must wear a face covering. Occupancy and seating are reduced to allow proper distancing. Hand-sanitizing stations are provided at entry points. And high-touch surfaces are frequently cleaned.

Curbside pickup and return services are still offered. However, the Friends of the Library Bookstore (located in the lobby) remains closed. Library hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


One of the brightest spots (literally) in our community during the holidays is the Pocket Canal Parkway light experience from Pocket Road toward Portuguese Park.

“COVID-19 has hindered our ability to expand more lights along the canal, but it won’t stop us from brightening the holidays,” says Devin Lavelle, Sacramento District 7 parks commissioner. “The plan is to hang the lights on Saturday, Dec.12. They’ll stay up through New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, no lighting ceremony this year.”

To volunteer for the Dec. 12 light hanging, send an email to pocketlightsvolunteers@gmail.com.

Corky Mau can be reached at corky.sue50@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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