August 2011 newsletter

Upcoming Events

Harvesting the Skagit by Katherine Lewis

Harvesting the Skagit

18th Juried Art Show at the Schack Art Center (Arts Council of Snohomish County): Everett, WA, June 30 – August 25, 2011. Katherine has one basket – “Harvesting the Skagit” – entered in this biennial exhibit of Northwest artists represented in a wide variety of mediums. Katherine’s piece received an honorable mention in the juror’s awards.

Anacortes Arts Festival – ‘Experience Art’: Anacortes, WA, August 6-7, 2011, 10am – 4pm. Katherine has been invited to be in the ‘Working Artists’ demonstration area. The AAF is one of western Washington’s best arts and crafts festivals. As part of the 50th anniversary of the festival, they will be expanding the number of artists presenting and demonstrating their work in this area at the north end of Commercial Avenue. Come watch and talk with Katherine about her work.

Nana Queen by Katherine Lewis

Nana Queen

All Things Considered VI – National Basketry Organization Juried Exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum: Brockton, Massachusetts, July 30-December 12, 2011. This biennial exhibit highlights the diversity of contemporary and traditional basketry in the US. There will be 48 invitational pieces and 37 pieces juried by Bruce Pepich and Ann McMullen. Katherine is excited to have her piece ‘Nana Queen’ juried into the show. There will a catalog of the exhibit published by the NBO.

Festival of Family Farms at Gordon Skagit Farms: October 1-2, 2011. 10am-4pm, 15598 McLean Rd., Mount Vernon (just around the corner from Dunbar Gardens). Katherine will be demonstrating willow basketmaking and selling baskets at the Gordon’s Autumn Harvest Farmstand as part of the annual Skagit Valley farm tour.

thirteen branches by Katherine Lewis

thirteen branches

Art’s Alive! 2011: Maple Hall, La Conner, WA, November 4-6, 2011. Katherine has been invited to participate in the “Emerging Artists” Exhibit this year. She will have several pieces on display for sale. The opening will be Friday, Nov. 4, 6-9pm. There is a wonderful selection of artists in the invitational and emerging artists’ shows. There will be many artists exhibiting and demonstrating around town that weekend. Katherine will be doing a demo at the Skagit Historical Museum. One of the pieces that Katherine has created for the exhibit is ‘thirteen branches’.

Katherine’s trip to Europe

Swiatovy Festiwal Wikliny – The World Festival of Wicker and Wickerwork: Nowy Tomysl, Poland, August 26-28, 2011. Katherine was invited to attend this biennial event in Poland. There will be basketmakers from about 30 countries participating in the event with competitions, demonstrations, parades and more. This area is a large producer of willow, so it will be of a particular interest to Katherine and her basketry work.

Katherine has used the invitation to the festival in Poland as a motivation to organize a trip to Europe to study willow basketry. She will be leaving in August for six weeks to visit France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Netherlands, and Germany. Stops will include three major basketry festivals: the Fête de la Vannerie in Vallabrègues, France, the World Festival of Wicker in Nowy Tomysl, Poland, and the Korbmarkt in Lichtenfels, Germany; as well as visits to several museums and basketmakers’ studios including one of her early mentors Werner Turtschi. Katherine has also arranged to study with David Drew in Villaines-les-Rochers in the Loire Valley of France for several days. She met David when she was in Villaines in 2006 taking a class at the Cooperative de Vannerie. She is excited to go back and get a chance to work with such an outstanding willow basketmaker. Katherine will be posting photos and comments during her trip on the Dunbar Gardens Facebook page.

fitched willow baskets by Katherine Lewis

Willow Basketmaking Classes with Katherine Lewis

Due to Katherine’s trip to Europe and her busy schedule of basketmaking, the next class here in Mount Vernon will be December 3 & 4. This will be a two day class with a focus on small projects. Several people have expressed interest in weaving small baskets for gifts. More details will be posted on our website later in the year. The class will be the usual two days, 9am-5pm, limit 10 people, $175, at the McLean Road Fire Hall.

willow basket making class with Katherine Lewis

Willow Gathering 2012 in Decorah, Iowa, June 21-26,2012: Katherine has been invited to teach in Iowa at this workshop organized by Jo Campbell-Amsler and Lee Zieke Lee. She will be teaching three two-day classes: Scottish rope coil, scallomed oval baskets, and Irish potato basket. For those of you who live in the Midwest this will be a great opportunity to take one or more of Katherine’s classes. Also teaching at the event will be Sandy Whalen and Donna Kallner. The organizers expect the classes to fill well in advance. Information and registrations are available through Jo Campbell-Amsler –

Dunbar Gardens farmstand produceFarmstand: Despite the cool weather we have been experiencing, the farmstand is open with a variety of produce fresh from our garden every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can find details on the website. Come out and enjoy the produce this year because Steve is thinking he needs to start making baskets so that he doesn’t miss out on the next trip to Europe!

Facebook:  Dunbar Gardens has a Facebook page. We post photos of Katherine’s latest baskets, commissions, and photos of the farm as well as other links of interest for willow basketry.

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


Katherine & Steve


The Mistress bicycle basket panniers

willow basket bicycle panniers by Katherine Lewis

Katherine made this pair of bicycle panniers last November. They were a custom order for Ben Ferencz at Freeman Transport, who hand build bikes in Missoula, Montana. Ben wanted a pair of willow baskets for a tandem bike.

willow basket bicycle panniers by Katherine Lewis

Ben sent us a Freeman rack so that Katherine could figure out attachment using willow and leather straps.

willow basket bicycle panniers by Katherine Lewis

They also wanted these to be picnic baskets, so Katherine added a removable cutting board on the inside of one lid. The lids are held on by a leather strap and buckle on each end.

willow picnic basket with cutting board for bicycle pannier

Here’s what the basket panniers looked like on an old bike we have with the Freeman rack tied on. They looked great even on this old beater, but it was going to be a pleasure to see them on a hand built tandem.

willow basket bicycle panniers by Katherine Lewis

We knew the baskets were going to be mounted on a special tandem that Freeman was building, but we didn’t know who the actual customer was. Ben had briefly mentioned the name Mistress. We had no idea that Mistress was a “creative agency” in Venice, CA. It was kind of amusing to come across this video and see Katherine’s baskets riding around the streets of LA.

The next short video shows the tandem bicycle being made. There are some good shots of the baskets again near the end. The tandem bike is apparently now for sale as The Mistress.


SAT artist of the month

Skagit Artists Together website screenshotKatherine is the featured artist of the month for January 2011 on the Skagit Artists Together website. SAT is a local artist organization whose mission is to create collaborative opportunities to connect citizens of Skagit County with the visual arts. The group has more than 65 members, and Katherine has been a member for more than three years now. In July, SAT sponsors an annual studio tour which gives people a nice opportunity to meet artists, see some working studios, and tour our beautiful valley. Webmaster Ron King puts together these monthly artist features from info provided by the artist. Katherine’s includes 10 photos of  her work, an artist statement, list of selected exhibits, awards, and publications.  Check out Katherine’s page.


2010 Basket gallery

Some of the willow baskets that Katherine Lewis handcrafted this past year. Many of these baskets were commissioned work. Enjoy the slideshow.