Paint Me a River!

Harvesting the Skagit

Harvesting the Skagit

“Harvesting the Skagit” is Katherine’s entry to the upcoming exhibit “Paint Me A River! Art Meets History” at the Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner. The museum asked local artists to submit pieces that reflected their personal interpretation of some facet of local history. This exhibit with over 75 original works rendered in paint, glass, bronze, neon, photography, basketry, and multi-media, reveal the wide variety of interesting, amusing and surprising responses that Skagit history can inspire.

Katherine weaving her basket.

Katherine weaving her basket.

Katherine based the form on a traditional tulip bulb harvest basket which was about a bushel and a half size round basket with side handles. She used a variety of colors to showcase the diversity of willows that we have brought here to grow on our farm.

Trimming the ends inside the basket.

Trimming the ends inside the basket.

I was able to persuade Katherine to let me take a few photos while she was weaving this basket. Normally she doesn’t care for me and the camera while she is working.

Weaving the "roped" handles.

Weaving the “roped” handles.

Finishing a handle.

Finishing a handle.

The exhibit opening is Saturday, October 10, 4-7 pm with wine, hors d’oeurves, live music, and a chance to meet the artists. The Museum is at 501 South 4th Street, at the top of the hill, in historic La Conner, WA.

Katherine Lewis, Skagit Valley willow basketmaker

Katherine Lewis, Skagit Valley willow basketmaker

Share

Festival of Family Farms

Katherine finishes a willow basket

Katherine finishes a willow basket

This past weekend Katherine was at the farm of our friends Eddie and Todd Gordon as part of the annual Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms. Every year about a dozen farms in the valley host an open house for visitors to enjoy and explore the diversity of our farm community. Katherine has been doing a willow basketmaking demonstration at Gordon Skagit Farm the past five years.  It’s a real family event and Katherine spends a lot of time talking to inquisitive children, especially the girls.

future basket maker?

future basket maker?

Adair Orr and Missy Holland blacksmithing

Adair Orr and Missy Holland blacksmithing

Eddie Gordon has invited a number of his friends to participate in the event to make it both fun and educational. Besides Katherine doing a basketry demo, there is Adair Orr doing some blacksmithing, helped out by his partner Missy Holland and his father Frank Orr. Julie Blazek sets up with honey bee info. Then there are goodies like hot cider and baked goods by the La Conner school culinary program run by Georgia Johnson.

Vicki, Silas, and Randy James

Vicki, Silas, and Randy James

Of course, the real draw is the fabulous variety of pumpkins, squash, and gourds that the Gordons grow and display so well. It’s a great spot to run into friends as well, like my friends Vicki and Randy who have a  farm down in Silvana. They were checking out some of the unusual squash for their own table or perhaps to add to their list of produce they produce for their CSA someday.

Eddie Gordon

Eddie Gordon

That’s the head pumpkin getting a quick chat in with Katherine. Thanks Eddie.

Share

Grand champion

Grand Champion at the Puyallup Fair

Grand Champion at the Puyallup Fair

Katherine recently won the Grand Champion ribbon in the professional basket maker division of the home arts competitions at the Puyallup Fair, or officially the Western Washington Fair.  She won the blue ribbon in the wickerwork category and the overall winner. This year the fair ran from September 11-27 and had well over a million visitors. In recent years, entries in the basketry categories had been dropping; so members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild made an effort to encourage participation this year. Katherine was fortunate to have Vicky Nickelson transport her basket to and from the fair. In case weavers are interested, the basket was made from Salix purpurea ‘nana’.

Share

Tidal Twinings 2009

zig zag weave willow shopper

zig zag weave willow shopper

Katherine recently attended Tidal Twinings 2009, the annual Fall basketry retreat of the Columbia Basin Basketry Guild held in Lincoln City, Oregon. She taught two classes: a one day round fruit or bread basket and a two day zig zag weave willow shopper class. She says that the weavers seem to enjoy the classes and completed some nice baskets. What did she bring back for me? Photos to crop, tweak, and upload into a couple of photo albums which you can view by following the links below.

Tidal Twinings 2009 Zig Zag Willow Shopper class
Tidal Twinings 2009 Willow Fruit Basket class
Share