Sandy O'Grady has been a permanent resident of Punta Gorda since 1999, but is relatively new to the art community, having been a business owner until 2014, with little time to explore her passion. In August, 2013, while nursing her German Shepherd back to health after a rattlesnake bite, she kept her hands busy with pine needle basketry, a skill she had learned in a class years prior. With abundant pine needles in her yard, she started a new adventure with pine needle art, and made several baskets for friends and family, which soon led to exhibiting her work at galleries and art centers.
Starting with the usual bases of nuts and agates, she has since learned to create her own pottery bases for her baskets. Sandy is also passionate about all animals, and spends much of her time volunteering at Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary, and this is reflected in her work. She enjoys including shells, pinecones, feathers, plant parts, and other natural objects that she finds in her yard and at the Sanctuary in her artwork. She likes her baskets to be original materials of Southwest Florida origin as much as possible. Sandy is always experimenting with new ideas and techniques, and has recently started making pine needle wall hangings. Each of her creations is unique and never duplicated.