Tools

knife, awl, curved awl, rapping iron

knife, awl, curved awl, rapping iron

Above is a photo of the tools we sell at Katherine’s willow basketry classes. These aren’t the only tools that are needed to make willow baskets, but they are the ones that people don’t often have. The small curved knife is imported from the Vergez Blanchard company in France.They make a range of tools primarily for leather workers. Katherine bought her first Vergez knife from Jenny Crisp at the Basketmakers Association Spring Course at York in 2006. The small curved blade holds an edge well and the small round wood handle fits in the hand nicely for tasks like cutting scalloms. After searching for a similar knife with unsatisfactory results, we decided to import the Vergez knives from France.

cuttings scalloms

cuttings scalloms

The straight awl made in the US by the C.S. Osborne company can usually be found at a good hardware store, but we keep some on hand as well. The awl is used when passing a rod into or through the work or just holding the work to the lapboard. The curved awl and the rapping iron are made by Dave Swanson in nearby Bow, Washington. Dave is a blacksmith (among other skills). Katherine met Dave after his wife Wendy took a class with a visiting English basketmaker that Katherine organized. He has made quite a few rapping irons for Katherine and recently made a few curved awls as well. The rapping iron, as its name suggests, is for tightening up the work when weaving. The curved awl is used for tasks like inserting handle liners. Another essential tool is a good pair of pruning shears. We sometimes have Felco shears on hand for sale. We particularly like the #6 which fits smaller hands.Current prices for these tools are $32.50 each for the Vergez knife, the rapping iron, and curved awl; and $14 for the straight awl.

Katherine Lewis

Katherine Lewis

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Basketmaking classes

Katherine teaching willow basketmaking

Katherine teaching willow basketmaking

We recently mailed out our schedule of willow basketry classes for 2009. Katherine Lewis has seven classes scheduled for the Mount Vernon area. The classes are two days and everyone leaves with a finished basket, usually pretty nice even if they are a beginner. We provide the materials and have plenty of tools for everyone. There is a variety of baskets to choose from and most classes will accomodate a range of skill levels. Check out our website for more information. Would you like to receive future mailings of classes and events from Dunbar Gardens? You can join our mailing list by sending an email (no text necessary) to new-subscribe@dunbargardens.com. We use “Mailman” software to manage our list; so you will be asked to verify your subscription through a return email message.

gathering basket class

gathering basket class

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Crafts Report

oval panier a jour

oval panier a jour

Check out the Crafts Report Insight April 2009: Baskets. Katherine was one of 13 artisans chosen to share business insights with fellow craftspeople. The editor asked basketmakers to contribute a couple of images and a 100 word essay for this online feature. Believe me; it is difficult to write a concise but interesting tip about marketing your work. I usually end up in the role of editor in Katherine’s marketing efforts. I’m also her photographer which may put her at a disadvantage! I’m always open to constructive criticism on the photos.

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Basketry demonstration day at BAM

Katherine Lewis demo at Bellevue Arts Museum

Katherine Lewis demo at Bellevue Arts Museum

Katherine was invited to participate in a basketry demonstration day at the Bellevue Arts Museum this past Saturday, Feb. 7. Another one of a series of events surrounding one of BAM’s current exhibits: “Intertwined: Contemporary Baskets from the Sara and David Lieberman Collection (through March 22, 2009). There were five demonstrating artists – Dona Anderson, Dorothy McGuinness, Bill Roeder, Judy Zugish, and Katherine. There was also a “hands-on weaving” table staffed by members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild including Mary Irvine, Mary Auld, Carol Williams, Pat Reese, Pat Rytkonen, and Claudia Mullek. There were quite a few people taking in the demos as well as the great exhibits. Katherine made an oval shopping basket for her demonstration. One of the fun moments comes when she is “staking up” the basket. It takes a lot of floor space but always attracts an audience.

Katherine staking up the basket

Katherine staking up the basket

Some more of the talented participants:

Dona Anderson

Dona Anderson

Dorothy McGuinness

Dorothy McGuinness

Bill Roeder

Bill Roeder

Judy Zugish

Judy Zugish

Northwest Basket Weavers Guild members

Northwest Basket Weavers Guild members

After the day’s events, we viewed the museum exhibits. It was Steve’s  first view of the Intertwined exhibit. There was some great works. A few that stood out for me were baskets  by Leon Niehues, Pearl Nuvangyaoma, Sally Black, Mary Black, Dawn Walden, Fujinoma Noboru, Carol Stein, and Dorothy Gill Barnes.

Then we went out into neighboring Bellevue to find something to eat. Saturday night in downtown was a sensory overload for this country bumpkin!

Ries Niemi's purse sculpture

Ries Niemi's purse sculpture

Katherine ‘trapped’ in our friend and fellow Skagit County resident Ries Niemi’s purse sculpture outside the BAM’s entrance.

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