Each year, Kevin Sharkey, the executive design director at Martha Stewart Living, creates a beautiful Easter basket for Martha, letting his imagination soar and his talents shine. Easter is Kevin's second-favourite holiday after Valentine's Day and he almost always spends it with Martha and her family at her farm in Bedford, New York. Below is a gallery of Kevin's beautiful Easter basket creations followed by a how-to video with Kevin making one of the baskets for Martha. (I wonder what this year's Easter basket will look like!) Enjoy!
This basket, created for Martha in 2005, is my favourite of Kevin's series. I love the earthy tones he used, the moss, the grasses, the giant papier-mâché toadstools. It is all set within a wire basket that was painted a deep gold hue. Butterflies, some real and some faux, as well as tiny chicks and eggs, bring a whimsical, fable-like quality to the basket. It's so pretty. Photo by Stephan Abry.
This basket is another favourite of mine. I love the composition and the spring colour palette. Kevin gets most of the eggs for these baskets online, usually through Etsy. Eggs in various sizes arrive already blown-out. Kevin then paints them using various techniques. The beautiful paper geese, with their detailed feathers, and a series of paper butterflies, add texture, height and interest. Photo by Stephan Abry.
An actual taxidermy rabbit was used for this basket, which Kevin made for Martha in 2009. He found the rabbit at a fabulous New York City store called Evolution, which sells taxidermy and other peculiar ephemera. (It's one of my favourite NYC stores!) The basket is Japanese and was found in Maine. He let the natural colour of the basket dictate the colour palette: deep greens and browns. The large eggs are Emu eggs. Photo by Stephan Abry.
The bright and airy palette of this basket just says spring; it was Kevin's 2001 creation. Paper amaryllis and butterflies and little pink decorative birds are nestled into a giant silk bow atop a massive paper glitter egg painted a bright hue of green. Photo by Stephan Abry.
The nest-like nature of this basket inspired the freeform arrangement of eggs that Kevin chose for his 2013 Easter basket. Using a palette of mostly purples and light browns, Kevin left most of the eggs unadorned, using a marbleizing technique on some while leaving others plain. A cracked duck egg takes center stage; Kevin lined the interior with silver leaf to add a hit of magical sheen. Photo by Stephan Abry.
This was the first basket Kevin ever made for Martha when he was invited to spend Easter with her at Turkey Hill in 1998. Kevin used store-bought cardboard Easter egg boxes and painted them in bright spring colours, then used authentic glass glitter to embellish them. To further enhance the design, he tied each egg with silk ribbon and decorated some with faux flowers. Any hostess would be charmed by such a generous gift. Martha was so enamored of it that Kevin decided to make the Easter basket gift an annual tradition. Photo by Stephan Abry.
A closer look at some of the embellished eggs reveals just how beautiful they are: adorned with glass glitter, silk flowers (also glittered), ribbons and paper butterflies.
Talk about gilding the lily! The top-heavy flowers, made of metal, were anchored in a clay flower pot using cement. (Kevin admits that this 2012 creation was not his lightest!) Two velveteen rabbits flank the pot, which is set inside a Shaker-style basket, filled with paper grass and decorated eggs. I love the trumpet-like quality of the flowers, which seem to herald the new season of spring. Photo by Stephan Abry.
Kevin found a pair of swan-shaped baskets at an antique market in 2014. He painted one black and one white. The beautiful eggs inside were dyed in a palette of mauves and greens and greys, tied with ribbon and embellished with gilded monogram and rabbit decals. It's an unexpected and sophisticated departure from pastel overload! Photo by Mike Krautter.
In this video, you can see Kevin putting the swan basket together!