March 2012 newsletter

basketry willow in afternoon sun


Katherine was honored to be informed that three of her baskets were recently acquired by the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2011, Katherine made several baskets for collectors Steven Cole and Martha Ware. They have a large collection of baskets made by American basketmakers from materials that they collect or grow themselves with an emphasis on functional or traditional design. Their collection includes the work of some impressive artisans including Darryl & Karen Arawjo, JoAnn Kelly Catsos, Jeffrey Gale, Jonathan Kline, Dona Look, Leon Niehues, Alice Ogden, JoAnne Russo, Aaron Yakim & Cynthia Taylor, and Jamin Uticone. Some of the willow basketmakers represented are Jennifer Heller Zurich, Joanna Schanz, Jo Campbell-Amsler, Bill Roeder, Jean Gage, and Lisa Head. Steve and Martha have recently donated a significant number of their collection to the Smithsonian where they are preparing an exhibit of the baskets at the Renwick Gallery in fall, 2013. You can see Katherine’s baskets included in the collection on the Smithsonian website here: You can click on the hyperlink name of each basket to be able to view larger images of the work. Below is one of the baskets in the collection. We actually prefer this view of the basket to the one posted on the Smithsonian’s site.

willow basket by Katherine Lewis

Steve Cole’s Rope Coil

Upcoming Events

MoNA Style 2012: Museum of Northwest Art in 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 30 plus vendors of handmade creations.

“Willow Knot” Basket exhibit: Philip Dickel Basket Exhibit Museum Gallery in Amana, Iowa, April 2 – September 29, 2012. Katherine made the willow purse below for this annual exhibit organized by Joanna Schanz of the Broom and Basket Shop in West Amana.  The willow knot refers to the large willow rod that is wrapped around a willow bundle and ‘cranked’ until it resembles a knot. Katherine added a pair of tiny knots as embellishments to this purse.

willow knot purse by Katherine Lewis

Willow Basketmaking Classes with Katherine Lewis

March 14 -15, 2012: Northwest Basketweavers Guild Spring Retreat: Katherine will be teaching a “Double border tray” at this year’s retreat. See the Guild’s website for full details.

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. There are still places available in this class. 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.

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

basketry willow cuttings from 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. 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.  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


Exhibit of Basketry Teachers

panier a jour by Katherine Lewis

panier a jour by Katherine Lewis

This oval panier a jour, or French market basket, was submitted for an exhibit of baskets woven by basketry teachers. Katherine was invited by Joanna Schanz of the Broom & Basket Shop to submit an example of her work for this exhibit at the Philip Dickel Basket Museum and Gallery in the Amana Colonies in Iowa. Each year they have an exhibit to celebrate basketry, and this year’s theme is basketry teachers and their classes across the US. The exhibit will be open from May 24 to October 5, 2009.

inside view of panier a jour

inside view of panier a jour

This traditional French basket is one of Katherine’s favorites. The basket is made using the techniques of scalloming and fitching. In 2006 Katherine traveled to France to spend a week in Villaines-les-Rocher at the Basketmakers’ Cooperative to take a course with Norbert Faure. The oval and square panier a jours were the baskets she focused on with Norbert. Despite her limited French, she learned a great deal.

view from above

view from above

Here is an excerpt from Katherine’s ‘about the artist’ statement for the exhibit:

Katherine Lewis is a basketmaker in the Pacific Northwest where she has been weaving willow for seventeen years. She has a small farm near Mount Vernon, Washington where she grows the willow used in her baskets allowing her to choose the quality, color, and texture of her weaving materials. Katherine’s goal is to weave willow baskets that are functional and durable while reflecting the natural beauty of the willows. She has studied with accomplished basketmakers from England, Switzerland, France, and Scotland; including traveling twice to the UK and France to tutor with basketmakers, tour the willow growing areas, and learn more about the willow basketmaking traditions. Her instructors have included Adrian Charlton, Jenny Crisp, Sally Goymer, Norbert Faure, Alastair Heseltine, and Werner Turtschi. An extensive background in traditional European techniques coupled with willow growing has given her the abilities and inspiration to pursue this traditional craft with her own vision.

P.S. You can click on the photos for a little larger view.