Northwest Basket Weavers Retreat

magazine basket class

NWBW Retreat 2007 willow basket class

The Northwest Basket Weavers Guild has mailed out the registration information for the annual Spring Retreat. The Retreat is scheduled for March 24-28,2010 at the Pilgrim Firs Conference Center in Port Orchard, WA. There are 43 proposed classes to chose from as well as the opportunity to bring other projects for the open weaving area. This year’s featured teacher is Cass Schorsch who will be sharing her bark basketry techniques. She will also be presenting a slide show on Friday evening before the Gallery Gala.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Katherine Lewis will be teaching one two day willow basketry class at the Retreat. Katherine’s class is “Introduction to fitching” for intermediate weavers. You must be a member of the Guild to participate in the Retreat. All the information is available in the brochure which you can see at the Guild website, including color photos of the class baskets.

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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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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

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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.

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