See the Stunning Easter Baskets Kevin Sharkey Makes for Martha Each Year
An Easter spent at Martha's house is sure to include family and friends, a buffet of seasonal dishes, a houseful of whimsical and elegant decorations, dozens of eggs hidden for children to find, and one last mainstay of the celebration—a special gift from Kevin Sharkey, our founder's longtime friend and executive vice president and executive design director for all of Martha's merchandise.
"After Valentine's Day, I think Easter is probably my favorite holiday," he remarks. "And every year, I give Martha an Easter basket." For years, he has been crafting these original Easter baskets for Martha. Each one is uniquely different from the next and brought to life with its own vision. His baskets are something out of imagination: whimsical colors, gilded flowers like trumpets, velveteen rabbits and pom-pom chicks, satin ribbon tied up in a bow, birds and butterflies all aflutter, lush moss, and mushrooms of Wonderland size.
As with all of his gift-giving, great thought is given to both what's inside and how it's packaged on the outside. Each basket is carefully curated and often inspired by what Sharkey sees as artistic inspiration in the moment. Many of the unique tokens are inspired by Martha's personal collections from antique baskets to taxidermy rabbits (both of which were paired together in Martha's basket back in 2009). Others speak to Martha's family story like the Mother Goose basket in 2007 filled with eastern European-style eggs, as a nod to her Polish heritage. In the basket, he includes a set of decorated eggs in all shapes and sizes, and with its own color palette. Feeling inspired? Browse his most stunning creations featuring shimmering eggs, vintage-style rabbits, gilded arrangements, and so much more.
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2019: Spring Garden
"This year, I was inspired by a collection of greeting cards that I found when on vacation with Martha's grandchildren," Sharkey says. They happened to correlate with one of Martha's favorite colors: turquoise, which informed the palette of this basket. "I bought a collection of faux eggs, some mushrooms, some birds, and birch bark containers in all different shapes." He filled the containers with sheet moss and faux flowers: tulips, daffodils, and leafy sprigs of dusty miller.
Jamali Garden Birch Bark Finish Glass Vase, 6", $14, jamaligarden.com
. Jamali Garden Carved Teak Mushroom Sculpture, 7", $23,
. Jamali Garden White Eggs, $5 for 12,
2014: Swan Queen
"Decorating with chicks, geese and rabbits is nothing new—but it's less often we see Easter's living emblems morph into the basket itself," says Sharkey. "This dark, sophisticated palette is a pleasant departure from pastel overload."
2013: Bird's Nest
"Considering this basket looks so much like a nest, I wanted to keep the arrangement natural-looking, with little more than a few dozen eggs in mostly muted shades. Some were left undyed, and others were marbleized, but my favorite is the cracked duck egg that I lined with silver leaf (though you could also use metallic craft paint)," Sharkey says.
Beverly's Goose Hatchery Duck Eggs, $1 each, beverlysgoosehatchery.com
2012: Trumpet Lilies
"For this basket, I anchored these amazing (though top-heavy) gilded metal flowers in cement... inside a clay pot," says Sharkey. "No, it was not my lightest Easter creation to date. Vintage-style velvet bunnies flanked the pot, and the whole arrangement rested in a shallow Shaker basket. To find one with a similar look, try basketville.com."
Treillage Ltd. Planter Pot, in Regent Gold, $90, treillageonline.com
2009: Black Rabbit
"On a trip to Maine, I found this Japanese basket at an antiques shop and loved its simple shape and dark shade," Sharkey explains. "It inspired me to adopt an unconventional palette of jewel tones for the emu and quail eggs—and I included a velvety black rabbit, since Martha collects taxidermy."
The Evolution Store Old World Rabbit (call for information), $395, theevolutionstore.com
2007: Mother Goose
"Look on Etsy for various eggs and extras to add to your composition. This basket has eastern European-style eggs (a nod to Martha’s Polish heritage) from Etsy shops such as UkrainianEasterEggs, EggArts, and EggstrArt. I like the ones with lacy designs; the thick white wax and paint look like embroidery," Sharkey says.
2005: Woodland Scene
"Here, I incorporated chicks, since Martha raises chickens, but decided to forgo the usual candy-colored palette," Sharkey explains. "Inspired by earthy tones, I used forest-green moss to fill a wire basket. Hints of brighter color came from the real and faux butterflies (orange and yellow) and toadstools (crimson)."
Jamali Garden Fabric Butterflies (similar to shown), $13 for a set of 12, jamaligarden.com
. Butterflies and Things Spread Monarch-Butterfly Specimens, from $19 each,
2001: Jumbo Glitter Egg
"Making one oversize glitter egg is even easier than making a basket full of smaller ones," says Sharkey. "I threaded a wide gray silk ribbon through the open base of this basket and used another in pink to form a colossal bow atop the egg. A hot-glue gun was my best friend for adhering the decorative butterflies, birds, and amaryllis."
Silk Flower Depot White Amaryllis Spray (similar to shown), $4, e-silkflowerdepot.com
. Jamali Garden Artificial Birds, $13 for 12;
. Hyman Hendler & Sons Satin Double-Faced Ribbon, in Lilas Clair 13, 100mm, $8.50 per yd.,
. Cypress Slatted White-Painted Pedestal (1914), $2,400,
1998: Shimmery Eggs
"The first time Martha invited me to Easter brunch, I knew just what to bring as a hostess gift: this basket of handcrafted glitter eggs. Real glass glitter—as opposed to the synthetic kind—was key to decorating the storebought cardboard egg containers," Sharkey explains.
Nestler Cardboard Egg Boxes, from $3 each, germanplaza.com
. Wendy Addison Glass Glitter, $40 for set of 4,
. Tinsel Trading Co. Vintage Flowers (similar to shown), from $6 each,
. Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, in Pool, Beach Glass, Pond, Hydrangea Purple, Camellia Pink, Wild Salmon, and Couscous, 2 oz., $2 each,