Summer 2012 Newsletter

Two Rufous Hummingbirds by Steve Lospalluto


Greetings! Katherine has been busy traveling to teach some classes. In early June she was in eastern Washington for a weekend course organized through the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild. This past week she has been in Decorah, Iowa to teach a full week of classes to willow basketry enthusiasts. In between we managed to attend the Edmonds Arts Festival with her baskets. We have finally scheduled a couple of weekend classes for later in the summer here in Mount Vernon. You can scroll down for the details.

In the last mailing we let everyone know about some of Katherine’s baskets acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. They have announced the exhibit dates for the Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets at the Renwick Gallery for next year, October 4, 2013-January 12, 2014. We’re looking forward to the exhibit and exhibit catalogue. You can read the announcement and find a link to the collection here: Meanwhile Katherine will have several different pieces in a couple of shows this August closer to home.

This past spring we sent out quite a few willow cuttings all across the country. We always appreciate feedback on how they are growing in your gardens; so drop us a line.

Upcoming Events

Anacortes Arts Festival, Arts at the Port:August 3-5, 2012, Anacortes, WA. Works by 87 artists were chosen by juror Barbara Matilsky for this year’s exhibit which runs during this weekend celebration of the arts in Anacortes. Katherine is the only basketmaker in the show and will have three pieces  featuring her recent work with willow bark including “willow bark pouch” shown below.

willow bark pouch by Katherine Lewis

Pearls of Experience, Basketry Exhibit: August 9-September 20, 2012. The Northwest Basket Weavers Guild celebrates their 30th anniversary with a juried exhibit of members’ work at the Schack Art Center in Everett, WA. Katherine will have four baskets in the show including “Crazy Quilt” shown below.

Crazy Quilt by Katherine Lewis

Willow Basketmaking Classes with Katherine Lewis

Classes are two days, from 9am to 5pm. everyone will leave with a finished basket. Class size is limited to 10. Cost is $180 per student which includes materials. We provide tea and coffee. Class will be held at the McLean Road Fire Hall meeting room just down the road from Dunbar Gardens.  There is a registration form on our website.

willow gathering basket by Katherine LewisAugust 25-26: Stake and Strand Round Baskets. Depending on each student’s experience, you can make a round gathering basket or a laundry basket with inset handles. We’ll make a round base using twining, stake up the sides and begin the weave with a sturdy base wale. Students can choose between different side weave options. The laundry basket is larger than the gathering basket, taking more hand strength and more time to weave the sides. Both baskets are finished with a traditional willow border. The gathering basket is then completed with a cross handle for carrying. People that have taken previous classes with Katherine can contact her about alternative projects.
scallomed baskets by Katherine LewisSeptember 15-16: Scallomed Oval Baskets. We will weave the base on an oval hoop frame, and scallom on the stakes. Learning to cut scalloms and attach stakes in this way will open up a new way of weaving baskets. The oval shopper is a nice arm basket. The magazine basket is a slim oval basket with a lengthwise handle, making it great for magazines or books. The sides can be woven in a selection of weaves. Comfort using a knife is essential for cutting scalloms!

Classes in other locations:

August 18, 2012: Mary Irvine Basket Day, Northwest Basket Weavers Guild, Seattle, WA: The NWBW’s annual summer gathering for members and guests. Katherine will be teaching two half day classes – ‘willow tension tray’ and ‘braided leather handles’. The Guild pays the instructors’ fees, and members pay only for the materials. Register in advance by July 1. At Meridian Park (50th and Meridian in Wallingford) from 9am – 4:30pm.

willow tension tray by Katherine Lewis

October 17-21, 2012: Tidal Twinings, Columbia Basin Basketry Guild Retreat in Rockaway, Oregon: Katherine will be teaching a two day oval laundry basket, one day fruit basket, and a mini class on roped handles. Great opportunity for Oregonians to get three plus days of willow weaving with Katherine.

willow laundry basket by Katherine Lewis

Farmstand: We are open every day if you would like to look at the baskets we have on hand. We also have some fresh produce from our garden available on the weekends from 10am-6pm.

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



January 2012 newsletter

Happy New Year!

Strata basket by Katherine Lewis

Four views of a basket by Katherine Lewis

We hope your new year is off to a good start. 2011 was a busy year for us. As many of you know, Katherine made a six week trip to Europe to visit basketry festivals, basketmakers, museums, and study willow basketry to improve her skills and knowledge of the craft. See below for information about her upcoming presentation in Seattle on the trip. After getting back, Katherine made several new pieces for Art’s Alive (November 4-6) in La Conner where she was invited to participate in the ‘Emerging Artists’ exhibit. Then we were fortunate to get a mention in a Rita Konig column in the Wall Street Journal about log baskets and fireplaces. Next thing Katherine knew she had a waiting list of orders. Although it is nice to be busy, Katherine hopes to spend time this spring concentrating on work inspired by her trip.

willow log baskets by Katherine Lewis

Log baskets with different weaves: French randing, slewing, cat, English randing

Upcoming Events

Baskets in Europe, 2011: Katherine Lewis presentation to the Northwest Basket Weavers’ Guild, January 11, 2012, 6:30PM, Shoreline Unitarian Church, 14724 1st Avenue NE Shoreline, WA. Katherine will be presenting a program about the three basketry festivals she attended in Europe in 2011. She will show photos and discuss the three festivals in Vallabregues, France; Nowy Tomysl, Poland; and Lichtenfels, Germany. Each festival was unique in both basketmakers and staging of the event. She will also bring baskets that she purchased from some other willow basketmakers. Everyone is welcome to attend. Katherine’s program will begin at 7:30, but baskets and other trip souvenirs will be available for viewing at 6:30.

Fête de la Vannerie à Vallabrègues

Artist Trust Benefit Art Auction: Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, February 25, 2012. Annual event to benefit Artist Trust which supports Washington artists of all disciplines through grants and career training programs. Katherine received a $1500 grant from Artist Trust to help fund her study with basketmaker David Drew in September, 2011. Katherine is donating one of her baskets for the auction.

willow rope coil basket by Katherine Lewis

“whirlpool” by Katherine Lewis

MoNA Style 2012: Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA, March 17, 2012. This 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 40 other vendors of handmade creations.

two willow totes by Katherine Lewis

Willow Basketmaking Classes with Katherine Lewis

March 14 -15, 2012: Northwest Basketweavers Guild Spring Retreat: Katherine will be teaching one 10 hour class “Double border tray” at this coming year’s retreat. See the Guild’s website for full details. Unfortunately, the Guild is only offering one class by Katherine this year. Want more willow classes at retreat? Make it known to the retreat committee.

June 1-3, 2012: Willow Weekend in Entiat, Washington: This weekend event in eastern Washington organized by Claudia Mullek will feature workshops by Judy Zugish, Jo Campbell-Amsler, and Katherine Lewis. Katherine will be teaching a two day class in which people can weave either a round gathering basket or an oval garden basket. Friday evening will feature presentations by the three artists about their work. You can find details and a registration form here in this pdf on our website.

willow garden basket by 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: 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. See the brochure.

Katherine is expecting to post some dates for classes at Dunbar Gardens for late summer. We’ll be sending another email out later in the spring with updates.

Willow cuttings

Lincon’s Sparrow

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. If you need advice or have questions, send Steve an email.

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. Thanks!

Katherine & Steve


Exploring Baskets

Exploring Baskets postcard

Exploring Baskets is a show of work by members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild exhibited in Anacortes, WA from December 3, 2010 to January 29, 2011. There are over 60 pieces by 22 guild members and the show’s two jurors Lanny Bergner and Danielle Bodine.  Several of the artists are nationally known for their work in contemporary basketry.

willow basket by Katherine Lewis

‘Piece of cake’ by Katherine Lewis

Katherine was excited when an Anacortes gallery asked her about a possible show with the NWBW Guild. She never thought it would be a “piece of cake”, but it’s not easy to imagine all the hours of work that will be needed to organize a group exhibit. There is getting the info out to the members, collecting applications, formatting the images and descriptions for the jury, lining up the jurors,  notifying all the applicants of the decisions, printing postcards, press releases, printing the identification labels for the work, inventory sheets for the gallery, artist name tags, artist statements, making cards to promote the organization, receiving work, transporting it all to the gallery, wrangling pedestals and display cases, finally arranging the art in the gallery, staffing the opening weekend, organizing basket day classes, tracking the event budget, not to mention staffing the gallery on Saturdays because the gallery has cut back on hours due to budget cuts.

Exploring Baskets opening

But the rewards came when the show was up, and the exhibit opened on Friday. Guild members showed up to view their own work and that of weavers they know and admire. The Anacortes First Friday Art Walk always brings out a crowd, and locals were visibly impressed with the quality and diversity of the art and craft.

Thanks go to quite a few people for volunteering their efforts to the exhibit. Katherine Lewis and Kay Ogren were the primary organizers, but they had great help from Mary Irvine, Dorothy McGuinness, Alex Keggan, Heidi Brewer-Peters, Carolyn Swain, Dianne Corso, Lanny Bergner, Claudia Mullek, Sharle Osborne and Jan Smith. The artists all paid a small application fee to enter the show, but the NWBW Guild is still contributing funds to put on the event and receives no part of the gallery commissions on sales.  Katherine has certainly received quite a few appreciative comments since the opening, and she wants everyone in the Guild to share in the success.

Katherine Lewis baskets

‘Harvesting the Skagit’ and ‘Panier a Jour’

Artists included in the show are Sally Anaya, Mary Auld, Lanny Bergner,Danielle Bodine,Heidi Brewer-Peters, David Chambers, Deb Curtis, Jill Green, Mary Irvine, Marcy Johnson, Sharon Kita, Vicki Lash, Katherine Lewis, Dorothy McGuinness, Marilyn Moore, Claudia Mullek, Sharle Osborne, Carolyn Reznikoff, Bill Roeder, Polly Sutton, Elaine Twogood, Melinda West, Sheila Wray and Judy Zugish. Katherine has four baskets in the juried exhibit. Her work is certainly the most functional form represented in this show. (Three of her baskets are in the above photos. Don’t worry, you can see other people’s work in the slideshow below!)

basket day class

Another reward of all the work was seeing new people interested in the craft give it a try. The opening weekend also included a ‘Holiday Basket Day’ on Saturday. Members of the guild taught some hands on basketry with activities available for children and adults. Teachers included Sheila Wray, Elaine Twogood, Kay Harradine, Mary Auld and Karen Samdahl. It was especially fun to watch a couple of the children weave so well that they finished very nice baskets before their adult companions did.

Katherine Lewis weaving willow basket

Katherine was happy to demonstrate her willow basketry work for gallery visitors. People are always amazed at her ability to weave slender willow withies with a few hand tools into a beautiful, functional basket.

With the show up for nearly two months, there is plenty of opportunity to see this outstanding display. The gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday: 12:30-5:00, Saturday: 1:00-4:00. All the work is for sale, and there are additional baskets for sale by the same artists in a non-juried area. I uploaded photos from the opening weekend to our account. There are plenty of views of most of the baskets in the exhibit. Enjoy a slideshow:

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November 2010 newsletter

News from Dunbar Gardens November 2010

Katherine Lewis weaving in her workshop

Upcoming Events

Art’s Alive! 2010 at Maple Hall in La Conner, WA, November 5-7. Annual celebration of local arts in the nearby town of La Conner.  Katherine will have a basket in the open show.

Adornment, a wearable art show at Gallery Cygnus, November 12-December 24, 109 Commercial Street, La Conner. Gem of a gallery in La Conner. Katherine will have one of her willow purses in this show.

willow basket purse

Pleasant Ridge Gallery at Rexville: November 19-22, at the Rexville Grange, 19299 Rexville Grange Road (1 block from the Rexville Grocery) Annual arts & crafts show featuring ceramics, glass, painting, photography, woodwork, and basketry. Opening night, Friday, Nov. 19 will have a party with Celtic music by Campbell Road.

Exploring Baskets: A juried show and sale of work by members of the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild: December 3, 2010 – January 29, 2011, Anacortes, WA. Katherine is involved in organizing this show and expects an outstanding and very diverse exhibit. Members’ work was juried by artists Lanny Bergner and Danielle Bodine.

fitched willow market basket

Katherine has four baskets chosen for the exhibit. The opening will be Friday, Dec. 3 from 6 – 9pm as part of the First Friday Art Walk in Anacortes. On Saturday, December 4 there will be a “holiday themed” Basket Day with classes and demonstrations in conjunction with the show.

Willow Basketmaking Classes with Katherine Lewis

Classes are two days, from 9am to 5pm. Everyone will leave with a finished basket. Class size is limited to 10. Cost is $175 per student which includes materials. We provide tea and coffee. Class will be held at the McLean Road Fire Hall meeting room just down the road from Dunbar Gardens.

January 29-30 (Saturday-Sunday): Oval laundry or garden basket

oval laundry basketgarden basket

Two very useful baskets and a good introduction to oval work in willow. Both of these oval projects start with the same base, using twining and chase weaves. The sides of the basket include a sturdy 4 rod base wale with step up to three rod wale. Both baskets have side weave of French randing, but the laundry basket is taller and straighter where the garden basket flares out. The laundry is finished with a raised end for inset handles; the garden basket has a sturdy handle wrapped with slender willows. Some previous work with willow is suggested, but beginners could also make a gathering basket. There is a registration form on our website.

March 16-20: Northwest Basket Weavers Annual Retreat

willow rope coilKatherine will be teaching a two day class at the retreat this year. The ‘willow rope coil bowl’ will be the project. She is also scheduled to teach a short evening workshop on leather braided handles. See the NWBW website for details and registration.


Katherine’s willow basket “Harvesting the Skagit” was awarded Grand Champion of the 2010 Puyallup Fair in the professional basketry category of the Home Arts competitive exhibits. The Puyallup Fair (officially the Western Washington Fair) draws over a million visitors every year and is the largest attraction held annually in Washington State. Katherine originally made this basket for an exhibit called “Paint Me a River!” that was staged by the Skagit Historical Museum last winter. Katherine is pleased to receive this award for the second year. She also won the 2009 Grand Champion ribbon at the Fair for the basket “Nana Queen”. You can see photos of both the baskets online at Puyallup Fair Grand Champion.

Dunbar gardens farmstand

Farmstand: We still have a selection of garden fresh produce for sale Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 10-5. You can stop by any day of the week if you want to look at the willow baskets we have on hand.

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.

Katherine & Steve