Cole-Ware Basket Collection Exhibition

Irish potato basket - Katherine Lewis

Irish potato basket by Katherine Lewis. Cole-Ware Collection

“A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets” exhibition will be on view at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum from October 4, – December 8, 2013. There will be 105 baskets crafted by 63 basketmakers from this extraordinary collection assembled by Steve Cole and Martha Ware. Willow basketmaker Katherine Lewis is well represented with six of her baskets on display.

willow rope coil - Katherine Lewis

Steve Cole’s bowl by Katherine Lewis. Cole-Ware Collection

The basketmakers in the collection all work with natural materials that they forage or grow themselves. They harvest black ash, brown ash, white oak, cherry, willow, willow bark, birch bark, pine needles, sweet grass, honeysuckle vines and more. Materials are mostly processed with hand tools. The gathering and processing are as important to the work as the actual weaving of the baskets. Katherine’s work is integrated with farm life in the Skagit Valley where she grows and harvests her willow rods and bark for weaving.

Red and White Oval Panier à Jour - Katherine Lewis

Red and White Oval Panier à Jour by Katherine Lewis. Cole-Ware Collection

The collection represents the diversity of basketry traditions in the United States excepting those of Native Americans. The forms are mostly of functional design or the interpretation of traditional styles by these contemporary craft artists. Katherine takes satisfaction in knowing that many of the baskets she weaves are going to be used on a daily basis; and her baskets in the collection are really no different.

Zig Zag Shopper - Katherine Lewis

Zig Zag Shopper by Katherine Lewis. Cole-Ware Collection

The public opening on October 4 will give visitors the chance to meet many of the makers as well as hear from exhibition curator Nicholas R. Bell who will give a talk at noon. Katherine Lewis will be one of the basketmakers attending the open house. There are additional public programs during the exhibition’s run and the schedule can be viewed on the Smithsonian’s website.

Willow Bark Tray - Katherine Lewis

Willow Bark Tray by Katherine Lewis. Cole-Ware Collection

Part of the exhibition will be a “hands on” education gallery. Visitors will have the opportunity to handle baskets made by several artists in the collection. Katherine made one of her willow fitched market baskets, or panier à jour for this area. Curatorial assistant Debrah Dunner wrote: “I know the public will be delighted to engage with all the touch baskets, and will no doubt be surprised at how strong and substantial handmade baskets can be.”

willow basket - Katherine Lewis

“Hands on” gallery basket by Katherine Lewis

There is an exhibition catalog written by curator Nicholas Bell with a forward by Henry Glassie, Professor Emeritus of Folklore at Indiana University in Bloomington. There are photos of all the baskets as well as photos from the makers documenting their process and craft. The catalog, “A Measure of the Earth” can be purchased at the Renwick Gallery, through the National Basketry Organization, or Amazon.com.

Harvested basketry willow at Dunbar Gardens

Harvested basketry willow at Dunbar Gardens. Photo by Steven Lospalluto

Of course, a huge thank you has to go to Steve Cole and Martha Ware for their generous gift. Quoting from a recent email from Steve and Martha, “For the artists, we have been very fortunate to have your work in our home and in our lives every day for many years. Now, nearly all of our baskets have moved on to the Renwick Gallery where they will be a part of the permanent collection. We feel proud to be able to make this gift and hope you are proud of your work and its place in the nation’s craft collection.” Katherine is proud and honored to have been included in the collection with so many outstanding American basketmakers.

Bicycle handlebar basket by Katherine Lewis. Cole-Ware Collection

Bicycle handlebar basket by Katherine Lewis. Cole-Ware Collection

A complete list of the baskets in the exhibition can be seen on the Smithsonian’s website. There is a pdf document with thumbnails and info about the makers.

 

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NBO All Things Considered VII

Sorted Out by Katherine Lewis

Katherine Lewis was invited by The National Basketry Organization to submit a basket to “All Things Considered VII”, a biennial juried and invitation exhibition. Katherine’s basket is titled “Sorted out” which is a reference to all the sorting of willow that is required for the ‘rope coil’ weave used in this basket. Of course all the colors are the natural colors of the willow that she works with.

The show will open at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Craft in Gatlinburg, TN, August 24-October 19, 2013, and then travel to Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA, November 23, 2013-February 23, 2014. The Arrowmont show coincides with the NBO conference October 8-13, 2013. Katherine will be teaching willow basketry at the event.

Quoting from the NBO website: “This traveling exhibition is comprised of baskets of the highest caliber, craftsmanship and technical ability, which speaks to intricacy of expression, intimacy of design, visual excitement and communication that highlight tradition and stretch the imaginations of the viewer to new insights of the scope basketry in the 21st century.”

You can see a gallery of all the baskets on the NBO website here: All Things Considered VII.

 

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June 2013 newsletter

willow basket trunk by Katherine Lewis

Greetings! Here is our current list of events and activities for the upcoming summer and fall. We are especially excited about Katherine’s trip back east for the Cole-Ware Collection opening at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and the National Basketry Organization conference at Arrowmont in October. Scroll on down for the details.

Upcoming Events

Bellevue Arts Museum ARTSfair: July 26,27,28, 2013, Bellevue, WA. One of the region’s largest and most prestigious arts fairs hosted by the Bellevue Arts Museum. Katherine is excited to have been accepted into this juried show and will be in space H-13. She will have many new baskets and has a large enough booth to demonstrate her work during the show.willow magazine basket by Katherine Lewis

Art of the Garden – Schack Art Center: June 13-August 1, 2013, Everett, WA. Garden art and art to bring the garden into the home in a wide variety of medium. Katherine’s piece in the exhibit is this Irish potato basket form she named “pumpkin patch” because of its orange and black colors.willow basket by Katherine Lewis

Anacortes Arts Festival – Experience Art: August 3 & 4, 2013. Katherine has been invited to demonstrate willow basketry as part of the artists in action area at this year’s Anacortes Arts Festival. You can find Katherine working with several artists in a variety of forms just north of the food court area near the Arts at the Port exhibits.katherine Lewis willow basketmaker

All Things Considered VII – sponsored by the National Basketry Organization: August 24-October 19, 2013 at the Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN and November 20, 2013-February 26, 1014 at the Fuller Craft museum in Brockton, MA. An exhibit of invited and juried works showcasing both traditional and sculptural basketry while representing the depth of outstanding technique and innovative design. Katherine’s entry is titled “Sorted out”.Sorted Out by Katherine Lewis

A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets: October 4-December 8, 2013, Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery.

Katherine has several baskets in this collection that was generously donated to the Smithsonian by collectors Steve Cole and Martha Ware. Katherine is planning on attending the opening of the exhibit in October. She is looking forward to meeting the collectors as well as many of the other artisans. As a maker of functional craft, it is an honor to be part of an exhibit at such a prestigious decorative arts venue. There will be an exhibit catalogue authored by curator Nicholas R. Bell with photos of all the baskets and interviews with the makers. There might even be a couple of photos from Dunbar Gardens in the catalog. The public opening of the exhibit on October 4 will include a special program highlighting the exhibit. Katherine is providing one of several baskets for a “hands on gallery” where visitors will be able to pick up baskets similar to the ones they have seen in the exhibit. Pass the word to friends and family who will be visiting Washington, DC to put the exhibit on their itinerary.Katherine Lewis baskets in the Cole-Ware collection

Willow Basketmaking Classes

Currently there are no classes scheduled at Dunbar Gardens or the Mount Vernon area. Katherine is busy weaving baskets while attending to family obligations so she has cut back on her teaching schedule this year. However, Katherine is teaching at the request of some basketry organizations in other locations.

October 8-13, 2013: National Basketry Organization Conference at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Katherine is honored to have been asked to propose a class for the NBO conference. She is going to be teaching scalloming and fitching with willow. Working with bark-on willows from our farm, participants in this workshop will work on two techniques in willow basket construction, scallomed-on stakes and fitched sides. Scalloming involves cutting a tail on the end of the willow stake so it can be attached to a base hoop, making the size and shape of the basket dependent only on the hoop. Fitching is an open work weave. Combined with scallomed stakes, it makes a strong and lightweight basket with elegantly simple lines. Participants will learn different base construction methods before learning to cut scalloms. Projects will be tailored to each student’s individual weaving level. Students can expect to make one to two baskets or fitched trivets. Class will be just a part of the activities at this gathering of basketmakers. Katherine will also be giving a presentation with a slide show of her 2011 trip to basketry festivals in Europe. See the NBO website for all the conference details.Katherine Lewis NBO class baskets

Farmstand

We are sorry to announce that we will not be selling produce on the farm this summer. We appreciate the support we have received from our regular customers and hope you were amply rewarded with good food over the years. There are many good options now in the Skagit Valley for farmers markets and farmstands so we have decided to focus on our willow basketry business. Of course we are open every day if you would like to look at the baskets we have on hand. Don’t hesitate to stop in for a visit.Dunbar Gardens willow baskets

Facebook:  Dunbar Gardens has a Facebook page. We post photos of Katherine’s latest baskets, commissions, and photos of the farm.

For more information about classes, baskets, willow growing, or our farmstand please visit our website. Thanks!

Katherine & Steve

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February 2013 Newsletter

Greetings! Here is our current list of events and activities for 2013. We are especially excited about Katherine’s trip back east for the Cole-Ware Collection opening at the Renwick Gallery and the NBO conference at Arrowmont later in the year. Scroll on down for details of events, classes, and willow cuttings.

Spike inspects willow baskets

Upcoming Events

Artist Trust Benefit Art Auction: Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, February 23, 2013. Annual dinner and auction benefits Artist Trust which supports Washington artists of all disciplines through grants, workshops and professional support. Katherine received a grant from Artist Trust to help fund her study with basketmaker David Drew in September, 2011. Katherine is donating one of her lovely panier à jour baskets for the auction. The auction is curated so there are some very nice works included which can be previewed on the website.

fitched willow basket by Katherine Lewis

MoNA Style 2012: Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA, March 16, 2013, 10-5. willow magazine basketThis annual show features wearable art and home furnishings from Northwest artisans. Part of each sale helps support the museum. Katherine will be there with willow baskets along with 35 plus vendors of handmade creations.

Stash Fest Insider Visit: April 6-7, 2013, La Conner Civic Garden Club.

Katherine Lewis willow basketmakerKatherine is donating a visit to Dunbar Gardens and her personal work space as part of this year’s StashFest which is an annual fundraiser for the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum. StashFest attendees can buy a visit for one to three people to Katherine’s world or one of the other featured fiber artists. It’s a fun event for fiber lovers. You can check out all the details about the extraordinary fabric sales on the website.

A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets: October 4, 2013-January 12, 2014, Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery.

Katherine Lewis baskets in Cole-Ware CollectionKatherine has several baskets in this collection which was generously donated to the Smithsonian by collectors Steve Cole and Martha Ware. Katherine is planning on attending the opening of the exhibit in October. She is looking forward to meeting the collectors as well as many of the other artisans. As a maker of functional craft, it is an honor to be part of an exhibit at such a prestigious decorative arts venue. There will be an exhibit catalogue authored by curator Nicholas R. Bell with photos of all the baskets and interviews with the makers. There might even be a couple of photos of Dunbar Gardens in the catalog.

Willow Basketmaking Classes

Currently there are no classes scheduled at Dunbar Gardens or the Mount Vernon area. Katherine is busy weaving baskets while attending to family obligations so she has cut back on her teaching schedule for the coming months. Some of you may know that Katherine’s father passed away early this year and her mother has needed assistance settling affairs. However, Katherine is teaching at the request of some basketry organizations in other locations.

March 22-24, 2013: Salt Spring Island Basketry Guild in SSI, British Columbia, Canada.

Irish potato basket by Katherine LewisKatherine will be presenting a program on her 2011 willow travels in Europe as well as teaching a two day basketry class featuring the Irish potato basket. She is excited to visit weaving friends on SSI again. Details and registration are available on the Guild’s website.

October 8-13, 2013: National Basketry Organization Conference at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Katherine Lewis class willow basketsKatherine is honored to have been asked to propose a class for the NBO conference. She is going to be teaching scalloming and fitching with willow. Working with bark-on willows from Katherine’s farm, participants in this workshop will work on two techniques in willow basket construction, scallomed-on stakes and fitched sides. Scalloming involves cutting a tail on the end of the willow stake so it can be attached to a base hoop, making the size and shape of the basket dependent only on the hoop. Fitching is an open work weave. Combined with scallomed stakes, it makes a strong and lightweight basket with elegantly simple lines. Participants will learn different base construction methods before learning to cut scalloms. Projects will be tailored to each student’s individual weaving level. Students can expect to make one to two baskets or fitched trivets.

cutting basketry willow at Dunbar Gardens

Willow cuttings

It’s the time of year to order willow cuttings. We have a nice selection of varieties for planting listed on our website. Depending on your location, March through mid May is a good time to plant. There are planting tips on the website as well. If you need advice or have questions, send Steve an email.

Dunbar Gardens willow cuttings

Farmstand

We are open every day if you would like to look at the baskets we have on hand. You can also pick up willow cuttings, but please contact Steve in advance with an order.

Dunbar Gardens farmstand willow baskets

Facebook:  Dunbar Gardens has a Facebook page. We post photos of Katherine’s latest baskets, commissions, and photos of the farm.  You don’t have to be a Facebook user to visit our page and look at the photo albums we have posted there.

For more information about classes, baskets, willow growing, or our farmstand please visit our website. Thanks!

Katherine & Steve

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