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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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
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October class date added

basic round laundry basket

basic round laundry basket

Katherine has decided to add a willow basketmaking class date to our schedule on October 24-25. The waiting list for the Oct. 10-11 class was starting to grow; so she added a repeat of the class two weeks later as an option.  Classes are two days, from 9am to 5pm. Everyone will leave with a finished basket. Class size is limited to 10. Cost is $165 per student which includes materials. There is information and a registration form on our website. These classes are in the Mount Vernon area at the McLean Road Fire Hall near Dunbar Gardens.

gathering basket

gathering basket

Depending on each student’s experience, you can make a round picking or laundry basket of locally grown and English willows. We’ll make a round base using twining, stake up the sides and begin the weave with a sturdy base wale. Students may choose between different side weave options. The laundry basket is larger than the gathering basket, taking more hand strength and more time to weave the sides. Both baskets have the same 5 rod border. The gathering basket is then completed with a cross handle for carrying; the laundry basket will be completed with two roped side handles.

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Baskets on Flickr

round table baskets

One of my favorite websites is Flickr.com. I enjoy posting and sharing photos of Katherine’s work and Dunbar Gardens. One of the nice features of Flickr are the group photo pools, and there are a few groups dedicated to basketry. I have posted quite a few photos in the group *Basket. This group invites all basketmakers, collectors and anyone with an interest in baskets and hand woven items to post their basketry related images. This group has a sister group called *Basket World which has an emphasis on Baskets at work around the world – “baskets in use, being worn, carried, burnt, thrown away, loved, stacked, sold, filled, emptied…”. Artist and photographer  Tim Johnson is the administrator of these two groups. Tim’s goal is to make the two pools as vibrant as possible to celebrate our craft.

There are other groups as well that I frequent that are of interest to basketmakers and weavers. Check out Handwoven, Coiled and Twined  Basketry, Traditional American Basketry, and  *String, Cordage, Binding, Bundles, Braiding & Wrapping. So sign up for Flickr and join in the fun!

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