A gift of willow is suggested for the ninth anniversary. We have had several inquiries over the years for anniversary baskets. These have included a flower gathering basket, a small berry picker, a Celtic rope coil, a trivet, and a potluck basket. Somehow the potluck or casserole basket seems like an appropriate gesture for a relationship that is nine years in the making. Bringing a casserole to a potluck is all about family, friends, community, enjoying memories, and looking to the future. Although it wasn’t an anniversary gift, Katherine recently made this willow basket to fit a casserole dish. She has been weaving a similar basket, but this time she gave it a more rectangular shape to better fit a common casserole dish.
Katherine recently attended the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild Spring Retreat. She was the teacher of two classes at this annual event. Over 100 basketmakers came to take classes, weave, and socialize from March 18-22 at the Pilgrim Firs Conference Center in Port Orchard, WA. Katherine had two full classes. The first was an Irish potato basket. Check out the lovely colors in this traditional basket in the photo above. The willows are all from Dunbar Gardens. In the center of the photo holding her basket above her head is Alex Keggan who often helps Katherine in her classes. The other class was a willow square tray. The stakes on these are scallomed on the square base. Those borders and corners can be a real challenge.
Katherine was joined at the retreat by her friend and fellow willow basketmaker Kelly Wilson from Courtenay on Vancouver Island in Canada.
Mud rooms are a great place for baskets. That room just inside the back door where you keep your hats, gloves, overcoats, and boots. Katherine has made a number of willow baskets by commission for such a purpose. They are usually square baskets for efficient space use on shelving. One of the challenges is getting equally sized baskets. Although dowels are used on the corners, they are no forms or jigs used; just hands, eyes, and a ruler.
The set above is made from Green Dicks or Dicky Meadows willow grown here on our farm. Besides color and size, there is also a choice of handle styles. The ones above have an inset handle on two sides. The set below of red and green baskets have roped handles on one side. The handles are still made from willow; “roped” just refers to the technique or style. The customer wanted a roped handle on one side for pulling the baskets out from their place on a shelf, but not on the other side so that they can be pushed in flush with a wall.
This set was for a family of six. Wonder if they had a cat too?