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


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


Grant writing workshop

SAT grant writing workshop

SAT grant writing workshop

This past Sunday we went to a grant writing workshop sponsored by Skagit Artists Together. Katherine is  a member of SAT and had suggested awhile back a workshop on grant applications which she agreed to organize. Fortunately there is an outstanding organization called Artist Trust which is dedicated to supporting Washington State artists that offers workshops. Monica Miller, Director of Programs, agreed to come up to Skagit County to present a two hour program on building a strong grant application.

Monica Miller of Artist Trust

Monica Miller of Artist Trust

One of the reasons Katherine dragged me along was to take a few photos to include with an article for the SAT newsletter. But that didn’t work out too well.  I’ll blame it on the black walls and dark gallery space. Hopefully I can take better photos of Katherine’s work! One of the take home messages was the importance of the images submitted for any grant, or juried show for that matter. Grants administered by Artist Trust request ten images of an applicant’s work. These images are shown to the jurors two at a time for about four seconds during the first screening. Those first four images (two sets) are very important in capturing the interest of the people saying yea or nay. It is important to have a neutral background that doesn’t distract from the work, and to present a cohesive set of images that depict current work. While the images or work samples are most important in determining recipients, the panel’s perception of the artist’s ability to complete the grant project is also critical. It helps to have a concise project description with a catchy title. As to those artist statements that everyone struggles with, avoid the “artspeak”. Be simple, concise, and direct. Monica suggested an exercise of writing down twenty adjectives to describe your work; then picking out three of them to use that are desciptive and unique to your work. Artist Trust has a wealth of information for artists on funding, business, portfolio, marketing, legal, and more. Their website is a great resource.

The Conway Muse

The Conway Muse

The workshop was hosted at an eclectic arts venue and coffee shop called The Conway Muse in Conway in the south end of Skagit County. SAT holds its monthly meetings here. Check out their website for a calendar of events.