Art’s Alive! 2009

Nana Queen

Katherine participated in the annual Art’s Alive celebration in nearby La Conner this past weekend. She entered this basket titled “Nana Queen” in the open show at the Maple Hall. On Sunday she demonstrated her basketry at the Skagit Historical Museum.

While she was working, I enjoyed talking to another artist, photographer Jeanne Hansen. She was explaining her black and white film work in particular. I have enjoyed seeing her work in other shows.

Katherine Lewis Art's Alive demo

In the photo of Katherine, you can see her basket “Harvesting the Skagit” behind her to the right. We described this basket in an earlier post about the “Paint Me a River!” exhibit.

There were numerous artist demonstrations throughout the town. After Katherine’s demo, we wandered down to The Artist Remarque to see Jane Penman, metalsmith and lapidarist. She cuts a wide variety of stones in free-form and mounts them in simple silver designs that are quite lovely.

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Facebook page

Dunbar Gardens sign

Dunbar Gardens has finally hung our shingle out on Facebook. We have created a page and are looking for “fans”. Katherine and I are already Facebook members, but the DG page just went up. I have already uploaded a photo album of willow baskets by Katherine. I aim to keep the page updated with our events and links. There is a discussion tab where I encourage people to post questions and experiences about growing basketry willows, willow basketry, and basketmakers. Our wall is open for contributions. So if you are using Facebook check us out at Dunbar Gardens.

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NWBW March retreat preview

fitched willow shopper

fitched willow shopper

Katherine Lewis will be teaching a two day “Introduction to fitching” class at the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild annual Spring retreat. The dates for next year’s retreat are March 24 – 28, 2010. Katherine’s class will be offered on Thursday and Friday, March 25 & 26 with a limit of ten students. So if you’re interested, you’ll need to keep an eye out for the retreat brochure. By the way, you have to be a member of the group to attend. All the info is at their website.

In the class, students will weave a solid base on a hoop frame, and then scallom on half the stakes and bye-stake the rest into the waling. This will allow enough stakes to learn fitching without spending all day scalloming! We’ll fitch around the basket twice; giving weavers plenty of practice learning this technique. The basket is finished with more waling, a 5-rod border and handle to make a beautiful oval shopper. Everyone will leave with a finished basket because Katherine plans her class time so that all students are able to finish the project in class. However this class is only recommended for weavers with experience with willow.

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Bike friendly basket

willow bicycle basket

willow bicycle basket

Katherine has donated this willow bicycle basket to a benefit auction for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, “advocates for a bike-friendly Washington”. She was asked to donate by Liz McNett Crowl the coordinator of Skagit County Physical Activity Coalition. Nothing makes a bike more friendly than a basket! (I guess that means we’re advocating for friendly bikes in a bike friendly place.)

removeable straps for attaching

removeable straps for attaching

Katherine has been working on her version of a basket to attach to the front handle bars. She decided an oval shape would work best for a variety of handles  and front cables. She has woven it with four slots to give some flexibility on how it is attached. It comes equipped with two adjustable straps with quick release buckles which makes it convenient to remove from the bike.

shoulder strap attaches to side loops

shoulder strap attaches to side loops

She also put two side loops on the basket for attaching an adjustable shoulder strap. You can remove the basket from the bike and conveniently carry it with you into a store or library, for example. The base, stakes, and border are made from peeled ‘buff’ willow which makes it fairly light weight. The side can be woven from one of the attractive colors of willow we grow; in this case a nice red.

willow bike basket and straps

willow bike basket and straps

When shopping for a bike basket, pay close attention to the number of stakes in the basket, and how the border is attached. There are a lot of cheaply made wicker baskets being sold for bicycles.

Better to buy a well made willow basket that can be a friend for life.

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