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


MoNA Style 2010

Basketmaker Katherine Lewis

Katherine sets up her display at MoNA Style

Katherine just participated in MoNA Style 2010. The Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA hosts an annual wearable art show and sale featuring clothing, jewelry, and items for the home. This year’s event featured forty Northwest artists as well as a cafe and fashion shows at local restaurants. The event is one of the fundraisers for the museum each year. This year’s silent auction theme was “Lingerie”. There was a variety of work in ceramics, fiber, metal, and painting. At the end of last year’s show the theme was announced and Katherine decided to create a piece.

artist Katherine Lewis

Katherine’s goal was to make the piece only with willow, which she did except the small amount of thread used in sewing the skirt. There are several different willows used with the natural colors of green, red, and orange. The skirt is made from willow bark which was cut into strips and sewn to a bark waist band which is attached to the top with bark also. The corset part has bark strips to tie it together in the back. The front uses a colorful zig zag weave while the sides were woven with a fitching technique for an open look. The photo above of Katherine with her work was taken by friend and ceramist Dinah Steveni. Below is a slide show of images of the work from several sides and details taken by Steve.

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