Exploring Baskets

Exploring Baskets postcard

Exploring Baskets is a show of work by members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild exhibited in Anacortes, WA from December 3, 2010 to January 29, 2011. There are over 60 pieces by 22 guild members and the show’s two jurors Lanny Bergner and Danielle Bodine.  Several of the artists are nationally known for their work in contemporary basketry.

willow basket by Katherine Lewis

‘Piece of cake’ by Katherine Lewis

Katherine was excited when an Anacortes gallery asked her about a possible show with the NWBW Guild. She never thought it would be a “piece of cake”, but it’s not easy to imagine all the hours of work that will be needed to organize a group exhibit. There is getting the info out to the members, collecting applications, formatting the images and descriptions for the jury, lining up the jurors,  notifying all the applicants of the decisions, printing postcards, press releases, printing the identification labels for the work, inventory sheets for the gallery, artist name tags, artist statements, making cards to promote the organization, receiving work, transporting it all to the gallery, wrangling pedestals and display cases, finally arranging the art in the gallery, staffing the opening weekend, organizing basket day classes, tracking the event budget, not to mention staffing the gallery on Saturdays because the gallery has cut back on hours due to budget cuts.

Exploring Baskets opening

But the rewards came when the show was up, and the exhibit opened on Friday. Guild members showed up to view their own work and that of weavers they know and admire. The Anacortes First Friday Art Walk always brings out a crowd, and locals were visibly impressed with the quality and diversity of the art and craft.

Thanks go to quite a few people for volunteering their efforts to the exhibit. Katherine Lewis and Kay Ogren were the primary organizers, but they had great help from Mary Irvine, Dorothy McGuinness, Alex Keggan, Heidi Brewer-Peters, Carolyn Swain, Dianne Corso, Lanny Bergner, Claudia Mullek, Sharle Osborne and Jan Smith. The artists all paid a small application fee to enter the show, but the NWBW Guild is still contributing funds to put on the event and receives no part of the gallery commissions on sales.  Katherine has certainly received quite a few appreciative comments since the opening, and she wants everyone in the Guild to share in the success.

Katherine Lewis baskets

‘Harvesting the Skagit’ and ‘Panier a Jour’

Artists included in the show are Sally Anaya, Mary Auld, Lanny Bergner,Danielle Bodine,Heidi Brewer-Peters, David Chambers, Deb Curtis, Jill Green, Mary Irvine, Marcy Johnson, Sharon Kita, Vicki Lash, Katherine Lewis, Dorothy McGuinness, Marilyn Moore, Claudia Mullek, Sharle Osborne, Carolyn Reznikoff, Bill Roeder, Polly Sutton, Elaine Twogood, Melinda West, Sheila Wray and Judy Zugish. Katherine has four baskets in the juried exhibit. Her work is certainly the most functional form represented in this show. (Three of her baskets are in the above photos. Don’t worry, you can see other people’s work in the slideshow below!)

basket day class

Another reward of all the work was seeing new people interested in the craft give it a try. The opening weekend also included a ‘Holiday Basket Day’ on Saturday. Members of the guild taught some hands on basketry with activities available for children and adults. Teachers included Sheila Wray, Elaine Twogood, Kay Harradine, Mary Auld and Karen Samdahl. It was especially fun to watch a couple of the children weave so well that they finished very nice baskets before their adult companions did.

Katherine Lewis weaving willow basket

Katherine was happy to demonstrate her willow basketry work for gallery visitors. People are always amazed at her ability to weave slender willow withies with a few hand tools into a beautiful, functional basket.

With the show up for nearly two months, there is plenty of opportunity to see this outstanding display. The gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday: 12:30-5:00, Saturday: 1:00-4:00. All the work is for sale, and there are additional baskets for sale by the same artists in a non-juried area. I uploaded photos from the opening weekend to our Flickr.com account. There are plenty of views of most of the baskets in the exhibit. Enjoy a slideshow:

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