The prevalence of digital photography has made it easy to make all kinds of nifty printed gifts. I took advantage of a nice offer at one of the local printers to make a calendar for Dunbar Gardens of Katherine’s willow baskets. The easy part is finding photos of some of the wonderful baskets Katherine has made throughout the year. The hard part is finding good photos that I would like others to be looking at for a month. Most of the baskets have been sold, so there are no second chances for a better shot. Here’s what I came up for this year (click on the thumbnails for a larger view:
“Well I wished you could have been here when I opened up my present after he had opened mine. We laughed and laughed. Thanks for making our presents this year. We will be so coordinated and organized!” Katherine and I had already had a good laugh about this couple that had each arranged a basket to be made for a Christmas gift. She had come by several weeks before the holidays to ask Katherine to weave a small square basket for her husband. A basket for him to toss his keys, wallet, and stuff. She picked her gift up three weeks before Christmas.
Then on Dec. 18 her husband stopped by looking for a basket. He wanted to get her a rectangular basket for use in the kitchen to contain oil, vinegar and spice bottles. The red and green willow combination was appealing to both of them as it turned out. Lucky for him, and her, Katherine had willow ready to weave that weekend and she made his gift.
For the kitchen basket, Katherine used wood slats in the base to get a flat bottom. She covered them with a greenish willow bark to match the base weavers, as you can see in the photo above.
They were both shopping for a locally made, handcrafted gift; they just never guessed they would pick the same place. Here’s a big thank you to everyone that bought a handcrafted gift this year.
I photographed Katherine weaving a willow garden basket in October, 2007. Recently I picked out 15 of them for a set that I posted to our Flick.com account. The photos were taken in one of our barns on the farm.You can see some of the dried basketry willow from our farm behind Katherine. There is also a selection of finished baskets. The amazing detail is that our cat Spike only appears in one photo!
To be clear, Katherine doesn’t normally work here. These photos were taken for a magazine article that appeared in the April 2008 issue of Romantic Homes. The issue had a focus on “ways to shop green” and “French style”. Katherine was the featured artisan in an article entitled “A Basket Case”. The editor asked us to provide some photos of Katherine at work and on our farm. They did a nice job of taking what we sent and cropping it for a nice mix of images.
Jacqueline deMontravel wrote in the article, “Shopping with a basket is as classic and stylish as a designer bag that warrants a waiting list. As the trend catches on, such style will do more than liven up grocery aisles, it will benefit the world….Katherine says”It’s a purchase for something local, making an investment for a well-made item.”” Well in the photos we took she is weaving a garden basket, but maybe you’ll get the idea!
Katherine recently made some baskets for beer and wine bottles. She was contacted by someone involved with an east coast beer distributor looking for a traditional wicker basket for pouring lambic beers. He sent along a couple of photos that were only a little helpful. But the basket did seem very similar to wine bottle baskets Katherine had seen in France, and fortunately several years ago a friend had gifted her one of these baskets made in France at the Cooperative de Vannerie in Villaines-les-Rocher.
She used this basket as the model for her baskets. She decided to weave two versions – one with a French randed side weave (photo above) and the other with a slewed side weave (photo below).
The baskets came out quite nice, and the beer guy thought they looked great. But those Belgian ales aren’t cheap either and that’s where they’re putting their money for now.
Here is a recent one made for a birthday present.
P.S.: We are no longer making the bottle baskets. You can find inexpensive, made in China lambic baskets here: Handwerk baskets They look poorly made but might work for you at the price offered.