Oyster basket

Replica (on left) of traditional French oyster basket

Replica (on left) of traditional French oyster basket

Two willow baskets for packing oysters. The basket on the right belongs to Jon Rowley of Seattle who picked it up from a basketmaker in France back in the 70’s. Jon came by Dunbar Gardens after seeing my photos of Katherine’s baskets on Flickr.com. He brought his oyster basket along and left it with Katherine to check out. Jon works with Taylor Shellfish here in the Puget Sound region and has a vast knowledge and appreciation for oysters.

The basket is a traditional form used to pack oysters to market (baskets were then returned stacked in each other). Katherine¬† made the basket on the left as a copy. (Not bad for a first go!) She admires the efficient design of the original – a stake on each side becomes the handle, the border narrow on the back, the hinges made from one piece, the slewed base, and no waling which makes the shaping and corners more of a challenge. She did find a short description of a similar basket in “La Vannerie – l’osier” which is a French basketmaking manual. We have put Katherine’s version to use as a kitchen potato storage basket

basketmaker's perspective

basketmaker's perspective

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Postcard

Dunbar Gardens postcard

Dunbar Gardens postcard

Here is my latest “postcard”. I like to make a montage of photos into a postcard for a Dunbar Gardens ‘handout’. We put our upcoming events and contact info on the backside of the card. Then we have something to offer folks who come by our table at events or even those who stop by the farm. I will say that I still don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to putting the image together with Photoshop, but I usually come out the other side with something to use.

previous Dunbar Gardens postcard

previous Dunbar Gardens postcard

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Winter color

basketry willow in sunset glow

basketry willow in sunset glow

Winter on the farm. Clear day brings some lovely yellow and orange colors out in the basketry willows. I took this photo just before the sun set. The variety in the foreground is Salix purpurea ‘Dicky Meadows’. This variety is at the top of our list for usefulness in Katherine’s basketry and good production in the field.¬† Of course, I can’t enjoy this view too long. I have to harvest all these withies before spring! These basketry willows are coppiced to the ground every year. The willow in the photo is one year’s growth. The slender, unbranched, pliable rods are what make the plant so useful to basketmakers. There is plenty more information about our willow growing at Dunbar gardens on our website page that describes the willow cuttings we offer for sale.

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Better homes and willow baskets

buff willow tray

buff willow tray

Katherine shipped this basket last week to a customer in Montana. I like this photo because the basket is near completion, but there are enough stakes left to “show” how they are woven to become the border. It will have two side handles. The customer saw a similar basket in a recent Better Homes & Garden decorating issue and commissioned the basket. She tried to locate information about the “original”, but the magazine could only tell her that it was a “one-off” piece from a container of imported furniture. So she found Katherine via our website dunbargardens.com.

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