May newsletter

Dunbar Gardens willow baskets display

News from Dunbar Gardens May 2010

Willow Basketry Classes & Upcoming Events


There is an article about Katherine Lewis, Willow Basketmaker in the latest issue of “Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot”- the quarterly journal of Handweavers Guild of America. The article was written by Sandra Swarbrick who lives nearby on Camano Island and has a long involvement with the HGA. Nice article describing Katherine’s background with basketry, willow, and her teachers.

Katherine is serving as President of the Board for the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild for the coming year.

Upcoming Events

Edmonds Arts Festival: June 18-20, popular festival featuring 240 juried artist exhibitors, music, performing arts, children’s activities, wine bar and bistro in downtown Edmonds on Fathers’ Day weekend. Katherine will be selling her baskets in the Plaza area for traditional arts and crafts.

Anacortes Arts Festival Arts at the Port Juried Exhibition: August 6-8, Opening reception July 30, 5:30-8pm. Exhibition entitled “Next” juried by Esther Luttikhuizen showing a diverse mix of work in fine crafts, painting, sculpture, and photography. Katherine is excited to have four pieces selected for the show.

Nana Queen by Katherine Lewis

Looking ahead: Exploring Baskets: A juried show and sale of work by members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild: December 3- January 29, 2010 at the Depot Arts Center, Anacortes, WA. Katherine is involved in organizing this show and expects an outstanding and diverse exhibit.

Willow Basketmaking Classes with Katherine Lewis

Classes are two days, from 9am to 5pm. Everyone will leave with a finished basket. Class size is limited to 10. Cost is $170 per student which includes materials. Tools will be available to use during the class; and awls, French curved blade knives and locally made rapping irons will be available for purchase. We provide tea and coffee.
There is a registration form on the website. Or you can send us your contact info (name, address, email, telephone) along with a $50 deposit per class session. Last minute sign ups should email for availability. These classes are all in the Mount Vernon area at Dunbar Gardens or just down the road from us at the McLean Road Fire Hall meeting room.

Katherine Lewis basketry class

June 26-27 (Saturday-Sunday): Gathering basket, round or oval laundry basket

Depending on each student’s experience, you can make a round gathering or a laundry basket. The gathering basket starts with a round base made by twining, a sturdy base wale around the sides, English randing for the side weave, and a strong cross handle to complete the basket. The round laundry basket is larger than the gathering basket, taking more hand strength and more time to weave the sides.  It begins with the same twined base and base wale; then students may choose between different side weaves. The laundry basket is completed with two roped side handles. More experienced willow weavers can make an oval laundry or log basket that is also finished with roped handles.

July 13-16: four day in-depth class

This class session is currently filled. Katherine appreciates the positive response for the longer session and will be planning another one in the future.

August 16-17 (Monday-Tuesday): Scallomed projects

This class provides baskets at all weaving levels. We will weave the base on a hoop frame, and scallom on the stakes. The oval shopper is the simplest of the shapes, great for beginners. The magazine basket is a skinny long oval basket with a lengthwise handle, making it great for magazines or books next to your favorite chair. The square basket is great for shopping, and is a chance for those with previous willow experience to learn square shaping and square border corners. Students can choose from a selection of side weaves. Experience with willow is helpful, and comfort using a knife is essential for this class.

Tidal Twinings class

Classes at other locations

May 20-23: Willow basketmaking presentation and class in Portland, Oregon for Columbia Basin Basketry Guild members. Katherine is looking forward to her trip to Portland. She will be giving a presentation to the CBBG on her passion for willow basketry at the regular meeting of the CBBG on the evening of May 20. She will teach a two day class weaving an oval laundry or garden basket May 22-23. Sign up for the class is through the CBBG and Carol Horvath (email:

October 21-23: Tidal Twinings, Columbia Basin Basketry Guild Fall Retreat in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Katherine will be teaching two classes at the CBBG retreat this year. Willow bicycle basket on Thursday & Friday and a Berry picking basket on Saturday. You can be a member of either the CBBG or the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild to attend this fun event. See their website for details and contact info.

Facebook: Dunbar Gardens has a Facebook page. If you are a Facebook user, become a follower and keep up to date with our activities there. We also invite you to contribute by posting comments, your photos from one of our classes, starting discussions related to willow basketry or willow growing.

For more information about classes, baskets, willow growing, or our farmstand please visit our website.


Katherine & Steve


MoNA Style 2010

Basketmaker Katherine Lewis

Katherine sets up her display at MoNA Style

Katherine just participated in MoNA Style 2010. The Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA hosts an annual wearable art show and sale featuring clothing, jewelry, and items for the home. This year’s event featured forty Northwest artists as well as a cafe and fashion shows at local restaurants. The event is one of the fundraisers for the museum each year. This year’s silent auction theme was “Lingerie”. There was a variety of work in ceramics, fiber, metal, and painting. At the end of last year’s show the theme was announced and Katherine decided to create a piece.

artist Katherine Lewis

Katherine’s goal was to make the piece only with willow, which she did except the small amount of thread used in sewing the skirt. There are several different willows used with the natural colors of green, red, and orange. The skirt is made from willow bark which was cut into strips and sewn to a bark waist band which is attached to the top with bark also. The corset part has bark strips to tie it together in the back. The front uses a colorful zig zag weave while the sides were woven with a fitching technique for an open look. The photo above of Katherine with her work was taken by friend and ceramist Dinah Steveni. Below is a slide show of images of the work from several sides and details taken by Steve.

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National Basketry Organization

National Basketry Organization newsletter coverHave you checked out the NBO’s website? The organization has a new look after celebrating ten years as a non-profit promoting basketry. The website has been updated and one of the features is an extensive calendar of events. Susi Nuss of is a new board member of the NBO and she has been bringing her extensive internet networking to work on the events listing. The group states its mission as promoting the art, skill, heritage, and education of traditional and contemporary basketry. Members receive the quarterly newsletter which always profiles artisans working in basketry. Katherine recently renewed her membership. But anyone can visit the website and keep up to date on workshops, conferences and basketry events across the country; as well as enjoy the gallery of basket photos.


Pleasant Ridge Rexville Gallery

Rexville Gallery Holiday Show

Katherine will be joining a wonderful group of artists for the Pleasant Ridge Rexville Gallery Holiday show on November 20-23. This temporary gallery comes together every November for a weekend at the Rexville Grange which is located at 19299 Rexville Grange Road, Mount Vernon, WA 98273. Really the Grange Hall is west of Mount Vernon, closer to the town of La Conner, just around the corner from the Rexville Grocery.

Hopefully you can read the post card image to discover the great mix of artists and products that will be available. For basket lovers, there are two basketmakers involved – Katherine Lewis (of course) and Jane Hyde from Anacortes. There will be some outstanding pottery, paintings, jewelry, glass, turned-wood, felted hats, woven scarves, herbal products, and more.

There is a special treat at the opening Friday night from 6-8pm. Jessamyn Tuttle and Jon Nauert of Campbell Road will be playing Celtic music. Join many of the artists for  the music, drink, and conversation!

Campbell Road

Campbell Road